Punjab elections: Will announce AAP’s CM face next week, says Kejriwal
AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said his party’s CM face for the upcoming Punjab assembly elections will be announced next week.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said his party’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Punjab assembly elections will be announced next week.
“The announcement of the chief ministerial face will be made next week,” Kejriwal, who arrived in the city for a two-day visit, told reporters at the airport.
It is likely that the party may declare its state unit president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant MP as the chief ministerial candidate for the polls.
In 2017, the party had contested without a chief ministerial face and this was seen by many party leaders as a primary reason for not winning the polls. The Congress won the polls that year, securing 77 seats of the 117 total constituencies. AAP had emerged runner-up, winning 20 seats.
Besides this, Kejriwal targeted the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government over law and order in the state.
Raising the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab on January 5, he told reporters in Mohali: “If AAP forms the government, we will ensure that we provide necessary security to the Prime Minister and the common people.”
“The Prime Minister’s security breach is a serious issue. The Congress government has failed to provide security to the Prime Minister and common people. If AAP forms the government in Punjab, we will ensure that we provide necessary security to the Prime Minister and the common people,” he added.
The Delhi chief minister also unveiled his party’s “Punjab Model” with a 10-point agenda to ensure justice in sacrilege cases, jobs to youth and a corruption-free governance, among others.
“The Punjab Model will make the state developed and prosperous. Youngsters who went to Canada for employment will return in five years,” he said.
He also asserted that people want to bring his party to power to break the friendly “partnership” between the Badals and the Congress. “The Congress ruled the state for 25 years and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for 19 years, but they ruled in partnership and have looted Punjab. They didn’t work for the welfare of the people,” he said.
Hours later, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu hit back, saying: “Political Tourist @Arvind Kejriwal who was absent in Punjab for the last 4.5 years claims to have a Punjab Model. AAP’s campaign & agenda is a joke on the people of Punjab. A list of 10 pointers written by people sitting in Delhi with zero knowledge of Punjab can never be Punjab Model!”
“People of Punjab will not fall for these hollow and non-serious agendas. A Genuine Roadmap which will bring back People’s resources from ‘Mafia Pockets’ to ‘People of Punjab’ is required,” he added.
Meanwhile, the AAP chief admitted that his party could lose some votes due to the decision of the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM), a platform of farmers’ organisations, to contest the Punjab assembly polls. An alliance with the SSM did not happen because of differences over seat-sharing, he said.
Several farmer bodies which had taken part in the protests against the Centre’s now withdrawn agricultural laws had last month launched the SSM, a front to fight the Punjab polls. Last week, SSM leader Balbir Singh Rajewal ruled out an alliance with the AAP.
“I completely agree that if Balbir Singh Rajewal of SSM fights the election alone, some AAP votes could definitely be lost,” he said.
On allegations that party tickets were being sold in the run-up to the elections, Kejriwal said he would take immediate action if anyone gave him proof in this regard. “If anybody proves that somebody sold tickets and somebody else bought them, I will throw them out of the party within 24 hours,” he said.
This is Kejriwal’s first visit to the state ever since the poll schedule was announced by the Election Commission of India last week.
Election in Punjab is scheduled to be held in a single-phase on February 14 while counting of votes will take place on March 10.
AAP has named its candidates for 109 constituencies so far.