MOHALI: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday announced Bhagwant Mann, as their chief minister face for the upcoming Punjab election, to be held on February 20, ending speculation over leadership in party that won hearts in the border-agrarian state in 2014 with four seats in its debut Lok Sabha election only to follow up with an impressive 20-seat tally when it 2017 elections when it garnered 36 lakh overall votes to pip then ruling Akali Dal to the third spot.
The announcement was made by Delhi chief minister and national convenor of AAP Arvind Kejriwal here in Mohali.
And no sooner did Kejriwal make the announcement, a tearful Mann got up from his seat and hugged Kejriwal and Punjab co-incharge Raghav Chadha.
A wave of joy swept through the audience which comprised a large number of Mann’s followers at the venue. They broke into a dance to beats of Dhol-nagara and congratulated Mann for becoming CM face of Punjab.
While addressing the media at Mohali Club, Kejriwal said, “We do not believe in Bhai-bhatijawaad ki Raajniti. And Bhagwant Mann is like my younger brother, thus we did not announced his name earlier.”
“Bhagwant himself came up with an idea that we must follow a voting process and a number for three crore people was rolled out. We got a huge response from more than 21 lakh people through calls, SMS and whatsapp. Among which 93.3 per cent people responded Bhagwant Mann as CM face of Punjab. There were votes for me too, but I was not in the race, and interestingly, Navjot Singh Sidhu got 3.6 per cent votes,” Mann added.
Bhagwant Mann is currently the Punjab AAP chief and an MP from Sangrur.
During 2017 assembly election, while Congress had won 77 seats out of 117 assembly seats in Punjab, it was AAP which was tipped to win the elections in most pre-poll surveys.
AAP’s CM face is likely to consolidate its sway over Punjab with clarity in its campaign, heading into February 20 elections at a time when Congress is facing internal rebellion over selection of CM face.
Congress though has not named its CM face but it released a video, using a new-entrant Sonu Sood to drop broad hints that it was sidelining its Punjab president Navjot Singh Sidhu, deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and other senior MLAs to back Charanjit Channi as the pick.