The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday appointed its three-term MLA from Delhi’s Tilak Nagar, Jarnail Singh, as in-charge of the party’s Punjab unit. Jarnail Singh replaced Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
Soon after being appointed, the 39 year-old Jarnail Singh, in a tweet, said: “Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and whole Aam Aadmi Party leadership for having faith on me by giving this big leadership. I promise to deliver and fulfill expectations of people for a better Punjab with AAP Punjab organisation together”.
He will be the third state in-charge of the party in Punjab in recent years. AAP had fought the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls with Sanjay Singh as the in-charge. As against expectations that AAP would storm to power in the state, the party could manage only 20 seats in 2017. Sanjay Singh resigned soon after the Assembly results were declared. He resigned amidst allegations of having mishandled the allocation of tickets.
Sisodia was appointed as the next state in-charge in December 2017 but the string of losses in the electoral arena continued unabated. AAP could only manage to win one Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 parliamentary elections with its candidates faring poorly in all other seats.
The appointment of a Sikh face as the state in-charge is being seen as AAP’s way of reaching out to the voters of Punjab as the ‘outsider’ tag of its earlier state in-charges was held against the party. Also, after the sweeping victory in Delhi Assembly elections earlier this month, the party is looking to consolidate its position in Punjab for the 2022 Assembly polls.
Jarnail Singh has won the 2013, 2015 and 2020 (Delhi) assembly polls. This year, he defeated the nearest rival, a BJP candidate, by a margin of 28,029 votes. He has also been the president of the youth wing of the party. The task for Jarnail Singh in Punjab is cut out with the party facing dissent within its ranks and several MLAs having turned rebels. It will be upto him to cobble the party together and put it in a fighting position for the next assembly polls.
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