The popular face of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in this state and its member of the Lok Sabha from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann does not see himself as the Arvind Kejriwal of Punjab.
Reacting to social media campaign 'Paanch Saal Bhagwant Mann' (a take on 'Paanch Saal Kejriwal') that has gone viral after the landslide victory of the AAP in the Delhi assembly elections, the MP clarified on Tuesday to the media here that he had never projected himself as chief ministerial candidate of his party in Punjab. "I have neither promoted nor liked these posts. In the AAP, we don't elect ourselves CM," he said.
The comedian-turned-politician was here for thanksgiving at the Golden Temple for the historic mandate to Kejriwal in Delhi. His "road show" from the railway station to the shrine was a crowd puller, with the supporters egging him on with the slogan "Even Punjab needs a Kejriwal".
An enthused Mann his party would contest the assembly byelection in Dhuri to put its popularity to test. "Saving and developing Punjab are our objectives," he said. Encouraged by the outcome in Delhi, the AAP has indicated that its next target is Punjab, even though there will be assembly polls in Bihar first.
"Our plan is 75% ready and we'll apply our Delhi formula in Dhuri. Unemployment, farmers' suicides, drugs, sand mafia, electricity cuts, and many problems confront Punjab, and the current government is to blame," he said, adding that the new level of voter awareness had led to the victory in Delhi, and "people will no longer be fooled".
He was confident that after Delhi, the AAP would do well not only in Dhuri but also in the 2017 assembly elections in Punjab. "Our focus is not just one seat. The AAP can never ignore Punjab that elected all four of its MPs in its first Lok Sabha contest," he added.