Bhagwant Mann is still AAP’s Punjab unit chief, says Sisodia
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said that Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann is still the party president in Punjab.
Denying that the state unit is “headless”, Sisodia, who is on his first visit to the state after being appointed AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge, said that Mann did submit his resignation from the post, but the party has not accepted it so far. “Mann continues to be the state chief,” he insisted at a press conference here.
However, the Sangrur MP was conspicuous by his absence during the Punjab in-charge’s visit and meetings. Mann, who was to go abroad for three weeks, had quit the party post on March 16 in protest against AAP national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s unconditional apology to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Majithia to settle a defamation case over drug-related allegations. He has not been discharging his duties as the state unit chief since. “I do not need any post and will keep doing my work as a party worker,” he told HT two days ago in response to AAP state co-president Balbir Singh’s statement that efforts were being made to persuade him to continue as the state president.
‘Drug mafia is remains an issue in Punjab’
Sisodia, who jointly addressed the press conference with Singh, said drug mafia is still an issue in Punjab and the party will not hesitate in naming those involved.
“Illegal mining is an issue, drug is an issue and the party will continue fighting against these,” said the Delhi deputy CM while answering a flurry of questions on Kejriwal’s apology to Majithia. He further said, “My or Kejriwal’s stand on Majitiha is not relevant. Rather the Amarinder Singh government should be asked what it doing against the drug mafia.”
The AAP national convener’s apology had set off a chain of events during which two party leaders, including Mann, quit their posts and some legislators even threatened to split the party. However, Sisodia claimed that Kejriwal’s apology was a part of the party strategy. “The feedback from party workers has shown that people of Punjab have understood the strategy. They are not upset with Kejriwal’s apology,” he said.
He said the party would also focus on issues related to farmers, particularly those whose crop got damaged because of fire sparked by overhead power lines, and education.
(The story has been updated)