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Punjab’s Mann of the moment to avoid Raj Bhavan for swearing-in, vows to tackle unemployment

AAP’s chief minister-designate promises officials will come to villagers and says he felt sad when ‘jobless’ youths chased his vehicles during campaigning on motorcycles.

AAP’s Punjab chief minister candidate Bhagwant Mann during an election rally in Patiala. (Express/Harmeet Sodhi)

“Jithe banda jamda siri hai

Dakkeyan di miri-piri hai

Jithe kabze heth panjiri hai

Bapu de karj de sud ne putt jamde ghere

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Tun magda rahin ve soorja kammiyaan de vede”

In the run-up to the Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Bhagwant Mann often sang this powerful poem, by revolutionary poet Sant Ram Udaasi, on the poorest of the poor of Punjab who remain in debt for generations despite working as farmhands for the rich and mighty.

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Today, as the results poured in and showed the AAP in a commanding position to form a government in the state, the chief minister-designate referred to the revolutionaries who inspire him and said he would take his oath as chief minister at Khatkar Kalan, the native village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

“There will be no photo of the chief minister in government offices. Only photos of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar will be put up. One gave us freedom while the other wrote the Constitution of free India and gave us all equality,” he said speaking to supporters gathered at his house.

“We start our conversation with Inquilab Zindabad and end with it too. The spirit of Bhagat Singh must be feeling at peace today seeing that there are still some people who have not let the flame of inquilab die. Earlier the oath used to be taken at palaces or in Raj Bhavans. Now these oaths will be taken at the villages of Shaheeds. We will take the oath at Khatkar Kalan,” he said.

Mann also said the common man would no longer have to go and beg for an audience with government officials. “Our elders were forced to make rounds of government offices to get their work done. These people who used to tell you to come on a Monday or Tuesday to get your work done will now come to your villages,” he said as the crowd roared in approval.

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Mann made a specific mention of the personal attacks launched against him and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal by the opposition parties. “You must have seen how Opposition parties threw muck at us with derogatory remarks against me and Arvind Kejriwal. Today I want to tell them that you are welcome to the kind of language you used. You made personal comments on us and our families, but the people do not like it. Today we forgive you, but from now onwards they will have to respect the nearly three crore Punjabis,” he said.

He said the people would be partners in his government. “Earlier the government was run from the palace of Siswan (Captain Amarinder Singh’s residence) but now it will be run from villages and cities,” he said.

Targeting Amarinder, outgoing chief minister Charanjit Channi, Congress state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, and SAD leaders Parkash Singh Badal and Bikram Majithia—tall leaders who lost the election—saying he had warned everyone against taking on him.

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“We will work for those who voted for us and also for those who did not vote for us. I am very worried about unemployment. One of the first things that I will do is to tackle unemployment,” he said. Mann said he felt sad when he saw youths chasing his vehicles during campaigning on motorcycles on weekdays when they should be busy working.

Referring to the Indian students enrolled in Ukraine universities, Mann said that the cost of a medical degree in that country was just Rs 20 lakh while it cost more than Rs 1 crore in India. “We shall put our house in order. You have used the broom and fulfilled your responsibility. It is my turn to fulfil my responsibility now. Have faith in me,” he said.

He thanked Kejriwal for spending 20 days in Punjab and working tirelessly in the campaign. “He did not take a day’s rest. His party is already ruling in Delhi and now we have won here. He started the party by fixing disconnected electricity meters. I thank the high command of the AAP. There are some things that we can learn from Delhi and there are some things we are good at and they can learn from us,” said Mann.

He promised a sports university in Jalandhar and other measures to improve sports infrastructure as well as to enhance health facilities in villages.


As soon as it became clear that the AAP was headed towards a landslide victory, senior district and police officials of Sangrur started arriving at Mann’s house carrying flowers. The security of the house was tightened with additional police personnel and soon the chief minister’s security detail arrived from Chandigarh with the bulletproof SUV.

Mann’s mother in tears

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Mann’s mother Harpal Kaur broke down while thanking AAP supporters for their love and affection for her son. She said all the party supporters have to run the government together, and thanked God on her son’s victory before breaking down. Mann hugged her and the two stood silent for a while. Earlier Mann’s sister, Manpreet Kaur, said “all Punjabis have won because this was a fight of all Punjabis”.

First published on: 10-03-2022 at 08:04:29 pm
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