Updated: January 18, 2022 10:46:23 pm
“In 2017, the Aam Aadmi Party had contested polls in Punjab with no CM face. The result is before everyone. They have learnt their lesson. This year they have a face,” said Chamkaur Singh Satoj, a resident a village Satoj in Sunam tehsil of Sangrur district.
Chamkaur Simngh was reacting to AAP declaring Bhagwant Mann, a resident of the village, being declared the chief ministerial face of the AAP for Punjab by party’s Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
Mann, who is also the Sangrur MP, no longer resides in the village considering his official and party works, but his mother Harpal Kaur lives there. He keeps visiting her.
Mann had studied till class 8 at the Government Middle School in the village. He pursued higher classes at other government schools nearby before moving to college.
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“His father was a science teacher. He passed away a few years ago. Now, we just want to know which seat he will contest from,” said Pargat Singh Satoj, a novelist and short story writer from the village.
Karamjeet Singh, another villager, said, “It was good listening to his name being announced. We have seen him growing over the years, from a comedian to a serious politician. We celebrated the occasion and we hope and pray to celebrate it in a bigger way after poll results are announced.”
The AAP supporters had installed a LED screen where they were catching all the action from Chandigarh live. As Kejriwal announced the results of the party’s “Janta Chunegi Apna CM” drive, in which it had asked the people of Punjab who should be its choice for the top post, the villagers broke erupted in joy. “We danced on dhol beats and distributed ladoos,” said Karamjeet.
Cutting across the party lines, Charna Singh, the Congress sarpanch of the village said, he was happy at Mann being named AAP’s CM face. “As a fellow villager I am happy for him. Politics should be set aside for sometime. We are a brotherhood,” he said, adding eventually the voters will decide the facet of the candidates and the parties.
Mann had started his political career with joining Manpreet Badal’s People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) before switching over to the AAP. Some villagers rue the fact that despite his popularity, not much has been done to upgrade the local school.
“The school now has started temporary classes for students of classes 9 and 10, but it is not a full fledged high school section,” said Charna Singh, adding, “There are many high schools in the nearby villages and perhaps that is the reason for delayed upgradation of Satoj’s middle school to high school”.
The village dispensary runs from a dharamshala building.
However, villagers claim that Mann had two years ago sanctioned more than Rs 30 lakh for various development works in the village. The pending construction work of a bridge was completed due to his intervention, recalled Chamkaur Simgh.
“The village has around 2,700 votes and nearly half of it went to AAP in 2017. This time, the share might increase,” added Pargat Singh.
AAP hasn’t yet announced candidates for Dhuri and Lehra seats in Sangrur and villagers are guessing that Mann will contest from one of them.
Mann’s mother Harpal Kaur was in Chandigarh Tuesday to be part of the her son’s big moment.
“She has never had a domestic help. She is very active and does all the chores by herself. Mann often comes to meet her and shares jokes with us. For us, our pind da munda is the CM face of AAP,” added Chamkaur.
Villagers claimed that the whole village had contributed a lot with funds and ration during farmers’ agitation against the now repealed agri laws.
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