September 13, 2021 3:10:15 pm
AAP Punjab state president and Sangrur MP, Bhagwant Mann and four MLAs have been nominated to the party’s national executive, but two of his key supporters have been left out.
Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and fellow MLAs Aman Arora, Baljinder Kaur and Sarvjit Kaur Manuke have been nominated to the executive. While Bhagwant Mann and Baljinder Kaur had been members earlier too, the other three are fresh appointees. The principal opposition party in Punjab, AAP, has been placing itself as the front runner for the 2022 assembly polls in the state.
Interestingly the two MLAs who have been very vocal in raising issues in Punjab and particularly during the farmers’ agitation, Kisan Wing President, Kultar Singh Sandhwan and the Youth Wing president Meet Hayer, have not made the cut. Both had openly come out in support of Bhagwant Mann as the CM candidate and had made public statements in this regard.
The issue of Bhagwant Mann’s CM candidature has left the party’s legislative group divided, with many MLAs supporting him while others are maintaining a studied silence, awaiting the word of the party leadership on the issue. Apart from Meet Hayer and Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Bathinda Rural MLA Rupinder Kaur Ruby and Mehal Kalan MLA Kulwant Singh Pandori have also raised voice in support of Mann being the CM face of the party.
However, AAP insiders say that some of those MLAs who have been vocal about Mann’s candidature have low chances of winning in the next assembly polls and are under the impression that Mann can help them win. “Certain MLAs have not performed well in their tenure and their popularity is at an all-time low. Giving tickets to them will be a liability. Hence they are the ones who are making the most noise,” said a leader.
Meanwhile, Bhagwant Mann has suspended the gatherings of AAP volunteers outside his house for the time being. These meetings were being held every day where slogans were raised in favour of making Mann the CM candidate of the party. Mann has cited prior engagements in New Delhi for stopping the volunteers meet, but sources say that the national convenor of the party and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has taken a dim view of the matter.
There have been meetings between the party’s Punjab co-incharge, Raghav Chadha, and Arvind Kejriwal, after the return of the latter from a Vipassana camp in Rajasthan, over the voices being raised in support of Mann and meetings being held outside his house. Sources say the senior leadership has not decided on any name for the party’s CM candidate for 2022 polls and no announcement in this regard is expected in the coming days.
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