The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday declared Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate in the Punjab Assembly polls.
Announcing Mann’s candidature, AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “Some people have put forward my name for CM’s face, 93.3 per cent favoured Mann as Chief Minister’s candidate, while three per cent preferred Navjot Singh Sidhu.”
Last week, Kejriwal had announced that the party will elect the Chief Ministerial candidate based on people’s suggestions. The party had issued a mobile number and conducted a phone-in poll.
Earlier also the AAP chief had said he wanted the party’s state unit chief Mann as the chief ministerial candidate.
In the last five years, the party faced many troubles and protests. The party saw the exit of leaders like H.S. Phoolka, Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Sukhpal Singh Khaira, but Mann remained loyal to Kejriwal.
Prior to getting declared as the AAP’s chief ministerial face, Mann said: “I am a loyal soldier of the party. I will do whatever duty is assigned to me. If I am asked to paste posters on walls or wave party symbol, I will gladly do that. Punjab is very important to me. Kejriwal has placed a lot of faith in me.”
Mann is the only party leader who got elected to the Lok Sabha twice after winning polls. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he was the only AAP leader who won for the second time. Mann has so far not opposed the party’s leadership.
Before entering the world of politics, Mann was a big comedian. He is the only leader in the Punjab’s AAP unit who has a strong fan base and is a crowd puller.
Experts are of the view that AAP in Punjab has an image of a party of Delhi and non-Punjabis. Because of this image, Kejriwal lost the polls in 2017 in the state and this time selected a ‘Sardar’ for the Chief Minister’s post.