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Punjab » Politics

Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 1:23 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 3:00 PM (IST)

Punjabi vs outsider rift post Sisodia’s Kejri pitch

Says vote ‘as if voting for Kejriwal as CM’ at AAP rally
Punjabi vs outsider rift post Sisodia’s Kejri pitch
Manish Sisodia (centre) talks to an AAP worker’s daughter at a rally in suppot of Mohali nominee NS Shergill on Tuesday. Vicky Gharu

Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, on his first day of campaigning in Punjab, today reportedly urged people in Mohali and Anandpur Sahib to cast their ballot for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) “as if they are voting for Arvind Kejriwal  as Chief Minister”, triggering a Punjabi versus “outsider” debate.

While AAP’s state leadership refused to elaborate, the SAD and Congress claimed there was a “conspiracy to anoint Kejriwal as Punjab CM through the back door”. 

Atishi Marlena, AAP spokesperson in Delhi, said Sisodia’s remarks had been twisted out of context. “He (Sisodia) said vote as if Kejriwal is going to be CM. He did not say Kejriwal will be CM,” Marlena explained. 

A senior AAP leader claimed Sisodia had been misunderstood. “He sought votes in the name of Kejriwal  as he is the man behind the AAP movement.” He refused to make an official statement. 

There has been much speculation on AAP’s chief ministerial  candidate, with one of the aspirants, Bhagwant Mann (Sangrur MP) seeking people’s backing for his claim to the top post at election rallies. 

However, Sanjay Singh, the party’s political affairs incharge, says it will be up to the elected MLAs to chose their CM.

Sisodia, who it is believed will take over as Delhi CM if Kejriwal moves to Punjab, told the media that Kejriwal alone could solve Punjab's problems, taking on the Centre till all demands were met.

Dr DS Cheema, SAD spokesperson, and party’s Delhi leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed that by projecting Kejriwal as AAP’s face in Punjab, the party leadership had accepted that  none of its state leaders were worthy of the CM’s chair.

Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said Sisodia’s statement was no surprise as the Congress had all along maintained that Kejriwal had his eyes on Punjab. “It would be suicidal for Punjab if his nefarious design succeeds,” he added.

(With inputs by Kulwinder Sangha in Mohali and Arun Sharma  in Anandpur Sahib)

QUOTES

AAP’s conspiracy to foist an outsider on Punjab is now out in the open. It has chosen a Haryanvi who has already bartered away interests of Punjab on SYL. —Sukhbir Singh Badal, sad chief and deputy CM

It is sheer manipulation of the electorate. Sisodia’s statement makes it clear that Kejriwal is scheming to become Punjab CM. This is a mockery of the democratic process, and AAP will have to pay for it. —Preneet Kaur, Congress leader

It may be an attempt to create a media hype around Kejriwal. But if they are serious, it will not only be disrespect to the people of Delhi, but also to the political acumen of Punjab and Punjabis.  —Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, patiala MP

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