Bhagwant Mann named AAP's Punjab Chief Minister candidate
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that Bhagwant Mann is his Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab. The announcement has been made following a televote wherein state residents were asked their suggestions for the party's CM face. Punjab is set to go to polls in a single phase on February 20.
- Kejriwal said Mann received over 93% of the total votes.
- Some 3% were in the favor of Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chief of the Congress party's Punjab unit.
- Meanwhile, some respondents voted for Kejriwal but those votes were declared invalid as the Delhi CM has already ruled himself out of the race.
- Recently, the Punjab election was pushed from February 14 to February 20.
"It is clear that AAP will win the Punjab election. In a way, the person chosen as the Chief Ministerial candidate will be the next Chief Minister of Punjab," Kejriwal told reporters in Mohali on Tuesday.
Mann is a two-time Member of Parliament from Sangrur constituency in Punjab. He also currently serves as the AAP's Punjab unit chief. The 48-year-old leader is a former actor and comedian, who has been part of films like Apne and television shows such as The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He had entered politics in 2011 and joined the AAP in 2014.
AAP, which is currently in power in national capital Delhi, has emerged as a serious challenger to the ruling Congress in Punjab. In the 2017 state Assembly elections, the party won 20 seats, finishing second after the Congress which had won 77 of the 117 seats. AAP recently won the highest number of seats in the Chandigarh municipal elections, bagging 14 of 35 seats.
Voting in Punjab will take place on February 20, and results will be declared on March 10. The state is set to witness a multifaceted contest. The Congress is striving to retain power after months of infighting among its leaders. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has partnered with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the Akali Dal has allied with the Bahujan Samaj Party.