The Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party has sailed into trouble with senior leader Bhagwant Mann’s supporters demanding that he be projected as the candidate for the Chief Minister’s post. Mr Mann, a two-time MP from Sangrur, is among the most popular faces of party. Over the last weeks, he has maintained an uncharacteristic silence but he has been meeting supporters daily for over a week, in a signal to the party’s top leaders.
But the top leadership is yet to take a call on the issue.
Today, Mr Mann’s supporters have gathered outside the house of Harpal Cheema, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.
“We want the high command to announce Mr Mann as the candidate for the Chief Minister’s post. We faced defeat in the 2017 polls primarily because we didn’t announce a candidate for the Chief Minister’s post before the election,” said senior leader Jagsir Singh from Mansa district.
“We will force the party to announce him as the candidate. Raghav Chadha should assess the ground situation,” he added.
After a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal last month, Mr Mann had told the media that the party will declare a Chief Ministerial candidate soon.
AAP, which has been looking to expand outside Delhi, is going all-out in neighbouring Punjab, where it hopes to have a chance this time.
The people rejected the Akali BJP combine last time and have watched the Congress government led by Amarinder Singh fail to deliver over the last five years, say party leaders.
Mr Kejriwal has promised a big incentive to voters — 24-hour electricity, 300 units free for each family and a waiver on previous power bills.
“This is Kejriwal’s promise, not Captain’s vows. We deliver our promises. Captain’s promises haven’t been fulfilled even after 5 years,” he had told the people.
Last time, AAP managed to bag 20 of the states 117 seats. It is contesting all the seats this time.