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Punjab elections: Sangrur Bhagwant Mann vs Sukhbir Singh Badal on the cards

Buzz in AAP is that party’s Lok Sabha MP could be projected as Deputy CM face.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Published: November 19, 2016 3:12:20 am
Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sangrur Bhagwant Mann, punjab elections, AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, Shiromani Akali Dal, news, latest news, Punjab news, India news, national news Bhagwant Mann; Sukhbir Singh Badal. (File photo)

AAP MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann may be fielded from Jalalabad, an Assembly segment represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The party is considering announcing his name during a rally to be addressed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on November 20 in Jalalabad, from where the AAP chief will sound a poll bugle for Assembly elections in Punjab, said a party leader.

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The Deputy CM’s candidature, however, was not announced in the first list of his party Shiromani Akali Dal declared on Wednesday. AAP sources said the party wanted to convey a message by organising a rally in Deputy CM’s constituency that it was taking on the ruling dispensation. Kejriwal will be in Punjab for 10 days and address 21 rallies in all three regions of the state till November 30.

Sources in AAP said Mann had himself requested the party to field him against junior Badal. “The party is already telling is workers that Kejriwal will make an important announcement in Jalalabad on November 20. Such is Mann’s desire to take on Sukhbir that he is saying he would take on him in two constituencies also if he decides to contest from two,” said an AAP leader requesting anonymity.

Mann has also made his desire public quite a few times while addressing gatherings. The party has already made it clear its stalwarts would not get easy seats. AAP already set a precedent when Kejriwal took on former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit in Delhi Assembly elections and then Narendra Modi in Varanasi during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

A source in AAP said Mann could be projected as the Deputy CM candidate. “Even if the party would not like to declare its CM or Deputy CM before elections, Mann’s candidature against junior Badal would subtly convey a message that he could be the Deputy CM.” Mann is a crowd-puller of AAP in Punjab. He won the Lok Sabha election with a huge margin of 3 lakh votes, a maximum in Punjab during 2014 LS polls.

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