Rebellion in Punjab AAP? Bhagwant Mann Flexes Political Muscle for CM Face But Top Brass Has ‘Reservations’

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There are signs of muted rebellion brewing between the Aam Aadmi Party’s central leadership and the party’s Punjab unit President Bhagwant Mann over the Chief Ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly polls in the state.

AAP has so far been cautious of naming Mann as the chief minister candidate for the assembly polls while Mann has repeatedly said that the party leaders and workers want him to be named as the CM candidate as soon as possible, a report in The Indian Express said.

Mann, who is also Sangrur MP, has been meeting supporters daily at his house form one week, sending out signals to the central leadership that he is the popular choice amongst party members.

The AAP MP also have support of party MLAs as the legislators have come out in open support of Mann’s candidature, underlining a rift within the party.

He has also shown his disapproval for not being named the CM candidate while he attended the joining of veteran Akali leader, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, in Gurdaspur district in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, where he maintained an uncharacteristic low profile.

In an interaction with reporters in Sangrur, Mann has highlighted that the party must face the ground realities and listen to ground workers while deciding the CM face in Punjab. He also reiterated that a large number of AAP workers want to see him as the CM candidate.

The report quoted party sources as saying that Mann’s comments and actions of attempting to force the central leadership’s hand in naming him as the CM face of the party has not gone down well.

Apart from party workers, Kotkapura MLA, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Mehal Kalan MLA, Kulwant Singh Pandori, have been vocal supporter of Mann and openly supported making him the CM face in the state. Many other MLAs too have also gone and met him at his residence in the past week as a covert show of tacit support for him.

However, other MLAs have declined to derive any meaning of the recent meetings with Mann. Harpal Singh Cheema, Leader of Opposition and MLA from Dirba said, “These are just enthusiastic workers. There is nothing more to it.”

The report said that Delhi leadership is not in mood yet to make Mann the CM face due to some issues with his “social acceptance” and “personal conduct”.

A senion AAP leader said that the central leadership has taken a dim view of Mann’s flexing of political muscle and attempting to force his name to be announced as CM face of the party. “Arvind Kejriwal ji is currently away in Rajasthan attending a Vipassana camp for one week. It is interesting that Mann has raised his banner of revolt while he is away. Arvind ji will come to Punjab after returning from the camp and everything will fall into place. Such actions have no place in the party,” he reportedly said.

Some leaders within the Punjab unit has thrown barbs against the state-co-incharge and Delhi MLA, Raghav Chadha, alleging that he had political ambitions in Punjab and therefore Bhagwant Mann being sidelined.

Chadha has denied the allegations and refuted the claim that he wanted to contest polls in Punjab.

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