PUTTING at rest speculation that he was eyeing the chief ministerial chair in Punjab, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal Thursday tweeted to Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh, making it clear he would not contest the upcoming polls. In a face-off between the duo on Twitter that ensued after Amarinder dared Kejriwal to contest against him, the latter tweeted: “I m not fighting punjab elex. So, ur challenge hollow. We r fighting Badals/Majithia, who sunk Punjab in drugs. N u r fighting us, not them?” (sic)
This is for the first time that Kejriwal has himself conveyed he would not contest the Punjab Assembly polls. Sources in AAP said the tweet was a well-thought-out response as the Delhi CM was not likely be the chief ministerial candidate as was being speculated. The AAP campaign in Punjab, however, centred around Kejriwal, who has been spending 10-15 days a month in Punjab for the past couple of months.
The party’s slogan for catching the attention of voters is “Kejriwal-Kejriwal sara Punjab tere naal (Kejriwal the entire Punjab is with you).” Sources said Kejriwal, whose team was earlier searching for a house for the Delhi CM in Punjab, had stopped the search as the plan was shelved. The party was forced to do a rethink after the
Delhi-based leaders in Punjab faced a revolt following the unceremonious exit of its state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. The party leaders felt that a Sikh face was a major issue in Punjab, at least to provide a handle to opponents in the state. “We realised after Chhotepur’s exit that Punjab was a state, which was sensitive about its identity. Delhi leaders, who actually built up the organisational structure of AAP after working day in and day out, were branded as outsiders. It became a Punjabi versus outsider issue,” said a senior leader on anonymity.
He further stated that it was after the revolt that AAP decided against having a permanent residence for Kejriwal in the state. “He visits here, stays in circuit houses and puts up with volunteers but does not have a house, which could have given another issue to the opposition,” the leader added. war of tweets
The ‘duel’ had started on Wednesday after Amarinder alleged AAP’s nexus with Badals by calling party’s Lambi candidate Jarnail Singh a weak nominee. Amarinder had dared Kejriwal to lock horns with him. Kejriwal had responded: “So, u r fighting me, not Badals/drugs. Badals also say they will fight against me. U n Badals wish to fight agnst me not agnst each other.” Kejriwal in another tweet had said: “Sir, r u fighting against Prakash Badal ji or Sukhbir Badal or Majithia or safe seat?” (sic).