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Bhagwant Mann back as chief of Punjab’s AAP unit, hopeful of alliance with ‘like-minded parties’ for LS polls

Bhagwnat Mann, who took charge as chief of AAP’s Punjab unit on Wednesday, said he was still hopeful of an alliance with like-minded parties for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2019 10:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
bhagwant mann,AAP Punjab unit,AAP Punjab unit chief mann
Bhagwant Maan took over as chief of AAP’s Punjab unit in the presence of Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia and several other top leaders at Chandigarh on January 30, 2019.(Karun Sharma / HT Photo )

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann took over the reins of the Punjab unit of the party on Wednesday, hitting out at rival Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) straightaway.

Mann, who returned as the state unit chief after the AAP’s state core committee rejected his resignation, said the party will go all out and expose the two parties. “(Akali leader Parkash Singh) Badal and (chief minister) Amarinder Singh joined hands to target the AAP. We will focus on public-centric issues and defeat them. I will give my best to live up to the party’s expectations,” he said, expressing gratitude to the party for reposing its faith in him.

Mann, who took charge in the presence of Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and several top state leaders of the party, said he was still hopeful of an alliance with like-minded parties for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. “We will present a viable alternative to the people and are in talks with the SAD (Taksali) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP),” he said. Both he and Sisodia completely ruled out the possibility of tie-up with the Congress in Punjab or elsewhere.

The Sangrur MP had resigned from thepost of state chief on March 16, 2018, in protest against AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Kejriwal’s apology to Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia to settle a drug charge-related defamation case. Though the AAP central leadership did not take any decision onhis resignation, he had stopped functioning as party chief.

Asked to clarify his stand on the party chief’s controversial apology, Mann said his position was clear from the start that he (Kejriwal) should have consulted the state leadership before taking such a step. “There was a conspiracy at the national level to bog Kejriwal down by involving him in 34 defamation cases and finish off the party. The apology does not mean that Bikram Majithia has been given a clean chit. It is now the responsibility of the Congress government in Punjab to collect evidence and take action,” he said.

In response to a query on saying no to liquor, Mann said that some people with vested interests were hell bent on tarnishing his image by portraying him as a “born drunkard”. Sisodia was also asked about the five disgruntled legislators’ continued support to MLAs Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Baldev Singh who have formed their separate party. He said there was no place in the party for those who were just hankering after posts. “Action will be taken against all those working against the party,” he added.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 10:04 IST