UNLIKE THE party’s farmers’ rally in Moga on September 11, the turnout at AAP’s conference during the Chhapar rally Friday was not as overwhelming.
The crowd was also not as big as in the last year’s rally held at the same venue. Then, comedian-turned-politician Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann had people rolling with laughter when he took potshots at the Badals.
Nobody in Aam Aadmi Party knew where Mann was and why he did not make it to the Friday’s rally.
Sources said senior AAP leader H S Phoolka, who is party’s candidate from Dakha constituency in Ludhiana, had invited him to the rally and Mann had even promised to turn up.
Mann’s team, too, said he had no other rallies or commitments and was scheduled to attend the rally. “He (Mann) told us he will be attending the rally. Phoolka sir had also invited him and he had said he will come but we do not know what happened. His phone is switched off since morning. We have not been able to contact him,” said Jassi Sekhon, Mann’s coordinator for Sangrur zone.
Asked about Mann’s absence, party’s co-observer Jarnail Singh said, “There is no need to create an issue out of this. It is possible that he has personal reasons and could not make it.”
The Indian Express also could not contact Mann .
Punjab affairs incharge Sanjay Singh , meanwhile, said it was a “historic” rush at today’s rally. “If this is the response we are getting in Punjab, then we are surely winning all 117 seats. Congress and SAD will get big zeroes.”
State convener Gurpreet Ghuggi is abroad to campaign for AAP and also shared Phoolka’s rally photographs on his Facebook account.
Is Mann unhappy with Brar?
Even as party leaders remained mum about Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann’s absence from the Chhapar rally Friday, sources said he was offended over the importance given to Congress rebel Jagmeet Brar at Moga rally and decided to boycott party programmes as a mark of protest.
“He is not attending AAP events as he is unhappy over Brar seated on the stage with senior party leaders at Moga rally and even honouring Arvind Kejriwal. He has communicated this to senior leaders,” said a source.
Can never have any issues with Mann: Brar
Jagmeet Brar said he had no with issues with Mann and that his future in AAP entirely depends on party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal.
“I am a newcomer in AAP and much junior than Mann and others. I told Kejriwal clearly that I will fit in wherever they would like me to. There is no question of me having any issues with Mann. Whatever space they give me, I am unconditionally supporting AAP. In fact, Phoolka and Sanjay (Singh) wanted me to be there at Chhapar rally today but I had to be in Delhi. There is no reason why Mann could be unhappy with me,” said Brar.