Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday ruled himself out of the chief ministerial race in Punjab saying that a leader from the state would take the top post if his party is voted to power. The clarification came a day after AAP leader Manish Sisodia asked people to “vote assuming Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief minister”.
“Punjab chief minister will not be from Pakistan or London or America. He will be a leader from Punjab,” Kejriwal said at a rally in Patiala. He added that he had been entrusted with the responsibility of the national capital and would continue to be the chief minister there.
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Kejriwal took a dig at Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. “Manish Sisodia said yesterday that whosoever would be the chief minister of Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal will ensure he fulfills all the promises. What was wrong in that?’’ he asked. “All including Sukhbir Badal and Capt Amarinder were shaken that Arvind Kejriwal wants to become the chief minister. I learnt Sukhbir had nightmares about me.’’
Separately, the AAP has decided against naming its chief ministerial candidate before the election results are declared.
“Our campaign is at its peak and with the overwhelming response that we have been getting, it would be suicidal to name a candidate right now,’’ said a top AAP functionary. “We have at least four to five very strong CM faces. These are leaders who themselves harbour strong hopes of becoming CM. Naming any one of them would mean shattering the morale of the other leaders and that would be very foolish.’’
Another AAP leader noted that their opponents were daring them to name their chief ministerial candidate. He added that this shows that they want them to walk into this trap, which they would not. “The biggest advantage of our candidates is that they do not have any baggage.’’
Kejriwal has announced that a Dalit would be the deputy chief minister if his party was voted to power. There is a consensus that the chief minister should be a Sikh. The AAP has several strong Sikh contenders for the top job, who have all been pitted against key leaders.