Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann(HT File Photo)
Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann(HT File Photo)

Bhagwant Mann as AAP’s Punjab convener? NRIs caution Kejriwal against ‘greedy narcissist’

Party’s 26 ‘prominent overseas faces’ say Sangrur MP’s elevation will be regressive move with irreparable consequences
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Ravinder Vasudeva, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAY 06, 2017 10:24 PM IST

In a huge embarrassment to the Aam Aadmi Party’s Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, who has been claiming to be popular among non-resident Indians (NRIs), 26 “prominent overseas faces” of the party have written to its national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal against appointing Mann the Punjab convener.

The letter sent by party volunteers from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand goes on to warn that Mann’s elevation “will be the most regressive and damaging move by the party and will have irreparable consequences”.

Also read | If AAP makes me Punjab chief, will not run away from task, says Khaira ahead of Kejriwal meet

The letter comes ahead of the meeting of party MLAs called by Kejriwal in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the restructuring of the state unit after its loss in the Punjab elections.

The group of volunteers, who had earlier written to Kejriwal in March and called for immediate removal of the party’s then Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh and organisational secretary Durgesh Pathak, has said that people overwhelmingly rejected Mann, who was a star campaigner in the assembly polls, and see him as a liability.

What they want

Bhagwant Mann should focus on his role as MP

AAP should first focus on the Gurdaspur bypoll

No decision be taken on party structure until senior leader Kanwar Sandhu returns from his personal trip

Leader of opposition HS Phoolka, chief whip Sukhpal Khaira, Sandhu, MLA Aman Arora and other party legislators should be involved in all future decisions

Decisions relating to Punjab should be taken by the state leadership, not forced from outside

‘Cost us the elections’

“Bhagwant is a narcissist and is less focused on the well-being of his constituency... is in a non-stop campaigning mode for himself and has campaigned consistently against leaders (of the party’s Punjab unit) like HS Phoolka). Also, his greed to be the Punjab CM was obvious... which cost us the Punjab elections,” the group said.

Accusing the Sangrur MP of carving out his own NRI team, they said: “His NRI team continuously attacked hard-working ground volunteers with names like ‘sold’ and ‘traitors’. We have been (working for) the AAP day and night, and (it makes no sense) to make a convener who thinks about himself before Punjab and the volunteers.”

The group also attacked Mann for his “drinking habit” and said the “entire world” has seen his videos on social media.

Prominent among those who have spoken against the MP are AAP’s outreach convener in the US Satbeer Singh Brar; coordinators, Punjab relations, US, Amritpal S Dhillon and Manjinder Sandhu; New York convener Bittu Sidhu; Canadian conveners Surinder Mavi (Toronto), Avtar Sidhu (Calgary) and Gurpartap Singh Kalls (Saskatoon); German convener Davinder Ghaloti and media coordinator in Australia Bhavjit Singh. Others include Faljinder Sing (Italy), Dimpa Singh Virk (Norway), Gagandeep Singh Aujla (Germany), Sukhwinder Singh Gill (Spain) and Khushmeet Sidhu (New Zealand).

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