Chandigarh, January 13
The Aam Aadmi Party seems to be uncertain on announcing Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial face, with party supremo Arvind Kejriwal “leaving it to the people” to decide while ruling himself out as the candidate for the top post. The party national convener today launched a number (7074870748), saying people of Punjab should call/message or WhatsApp and give their choice of party’s CM candidate.
“We want to leave the choice to the people of Punjab, who can give us their choice by January 17. Following this, the candidate chosen by the public will be the CM face,” he said. Though Kejriwal said he had himself asked Mann to be the CM face, the latter wanted the CM face to be “chosen by public and not imposed on them”. “I told Mann I should clear his name, but he gave me this idea that we should not choose the CM face at a closed-door meeting,” said Kejriwal, adding “my personal choice is not important… public choice is supreme. But I will reiterate that I will myself not be the CM face”.
My personal choice is not important… public choice is supreme. But I will reiterate that I will not be the CM face. —Arvind Kejriwal, AAP national convener
Will take any role
I will perform any duty assigned by party. I will even paste poster or wave party flag (broom) if it so wants. —Bhagwant Mann, State AAP chief
Mann’s supporters, however, termed it a “political stunt” by the party to get public validation for their choice. “Mann’s candidature for the CM face of the party is almost certain,” said an associate.
“Even yesterday, during the door-to-door campaigning at Kharar, public reaction and love for Mann was phenomenal and the party top brass saw it first hand,” he claimed.
Some AAP leaders felt it was a strategy to delay the announcement of the CM face as no party had so far declared their CM candidate. Mann, with Kejriwal by his side, endorsed his party leader’s statement, saying: “I am a loyal party worker and will perform any duty entrusted to me by the party.... For me, it is more important that the CM trusts me.”
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