Kejriwal’s war room for Punjab assembly polls: Men who matter
For this rookie party to enter a brand new arena, set up a team and support base, and then end up as hot favourites, at least till recently, is no mean task. The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s political future will be carved out in Punjab.punjab Updated: Dec 11, 2016 19:45 IST
For this rookie party to enter a brand new arena, set up a team and support base, and then end up as hot favourites, at least till recently, is no mean task. The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s political future will be carved out in Punjab. And, in his bid to ensure that it’s bright, the former bureaucrat-turned-activist-turned-politician, who has promised the nation an alternative form of politics, has spared his best men for the state. Here are the men who matter and the role they play in Punjab for the AAP.
Sanjay Singh, 44: AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge and prime decision-maker. His word is final unless overruled by Kejriwal. He played a key role in setting up the party structure as also tackling quibbles and crises by talking within and outside. From backchannel talks to addressing the press, he is everywhere. Whatever the poll results may turn out to be, he is the man who will get the bouquets or brickbats.
The right hand
Durgesh Pathak, 28: Is the closest among the Punjab men to Kejriwal. His energy was used in organisation-building. The go-to man, besides Sanjay, for poll tickets, he ensured the AAP and its symbol, jhaadu (broom), become household names. Listens more, talks less, remains out of media glare.
Bhagwant Mann, 43: The comic/politician is the life of the AAP campaign, and speakers before and after him struggle for attention. Seen to be pliable, and Kejriwal’s yes man, Mann has dreams of becoming CM. Has a penchant for controversies; believed to have a drinking problem. His rustic wit and extensive use of social media help the AAP connect with the youth.
Gurpreet Singh Waraich ‘Ghuggi’, 45: Another comic in AAP fold, he is its newfound troubleshooter. Made state chief much to the unhappiness of others, he is tasked with using his wise, patient approach for parleys with those upset. Much like his comedy that lacks slapstick, his speeches in which he abundantly quotes Sikh scriptures help the party.
HS Phoolka, 60: The lawyer is Kejriwal’s go-to man for all legal tangles. A one-man show, Phoolka has steered clear of intrigues in Kejriwal’s core team. A critical voice within the AAP, he makes his objections heard at the top. He also gives Kejriwal the intellectual base for his speeches.
Jarnail Singh, 43: Delhi MLA roped in to work in Punjab after the party lost a prominent Sikh face in Sucha Singh Chhotepur. Though known for radical views, he guides Kejriwal on Sikh and socio-religious issues. Not known for mincing words, he is also asked by Kejriwal for independent feedback on the party.
Kanwar Sandhu, 61: As a journalist, he’s been a Punjab specialist for decades. His skill has been put to good use by the party in formulating its much-touted set of manifestos. Also engages with supporters and the public at large online on wide-ranging issues. His anti-Badalism resonates with the NRI audiences via TV.