The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will start announcing its candidates for the 2017 state elections from May and include public in the selection process, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann has said.
During Friday’s ‘Punjab Jodo’ rally at Saneta village in this district, the comedian-turned-politician projected the coming elections to be a fight between money and principles. “In 2017,” he told voters, “the choice is between amir and zamir.”
Just like the state budget of Delhi, the AAP would also base its Punjab candidate list on input from the party workers and general public, he said, adding: “The list will be out in phases.” The villagers waited for more than an hour to listen to him.
Drugs were one of the sensitive issues he touched. “A pained father called me up from a village near Patti (Amritsar) to say he had written to the Prime Minister on the shroud of his son who had died of drug abuse. He wanted the PM to direct the Punjab government to act against drug traders,” he said, adding: “This is the story of many families in the state who have grieved for their sons.”
Moving on to another serious issue, Mann said farmers were committing suicide because of debt,. while the government was giving loan waivers to industrialists. He said if the AAP was voted to power, it would continue the existing subsidies, “just as in Delhi”, and throw in some more. Blaming the government for rising unemployment, he said: “The jobless army is queued up outside foreign embassies for visa. Our martyrs died to end foreign rule and today our youth are dying to settle abroad.”
‘Congress, SAD partners in crime’
Mann said the opposition Congress and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were both responsible for ruining the state. “The incompetence of the previous governments has turned Punjab into a land of drug addicts. This (the 2017 elections) is last chance to save the future of your children,” Mann told the voters, adding: “They will try to buy you. Take the money, for it was stolen from you, but vote against those who ruined Punjab.”
The MP said the AAP would win all 117 seats in Punjab.
‘NRI support increasing’
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Jassi Jasraj has said taht Punjabis staying abroad will be home in large numbers before the 2017 elections “to support the AAP and ensure that Punjab doesn’t lose”. He claimed that the NRI support to his party was increasing.
The Punjabi singer, who also goes by the names of Karan Jasbir and Jasbir Singh Longia, asked voters to resist the allurement of money, liquor, and drugs. In 2014, he had lost the Lok Sabha contest for the Bathinda seat.