Bhagwant Mann is AAP’s chief ministerial face: Can the witty Sardar get his timing right this time? | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Long before Bhagwant Mann exploded in the national scene, he was already the name of a family in Punjab. A name that evolved immediately.
It was an age when the Internet did not take over. And the pocket-sized audio cassettes released by Mann with titles like ‘Kulfi Garam Garam’ (Hot Ice Candy) were a sensation across the state. As a comedian, Mann linked rustic Punjabi humor with political satire.
It was not uncommon for him to play audio cassettes on an old black tape recorder mounted on a tractor plowing a fertile field in Malwa, Punjab. Punjabis like sincere smiles. Value one feature with political opponent Navjot Singh Sidhu. Man’s earthy humor often reflects the aspirations of the people and their conflict with the social and political realities of the state.
And when he appeared on the national scene in a prime time comedy show, Mann was already a popular celebrity in Punjab.

Entering politics

In 2011, Bhagwant Mann joined the People’s Party of Punjab, formed by Manpreet Singh Badal, who is now the Finance Minister in the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government. The man who used to make fun of politicians became one. Perhaps, Mann felt that the aspirations of the people were not just a matter of laughter. He contested from Lehra seat but lost.


Aam Aadmi Party

In 2014, when the country’s politics witnessed a tectonic change with the rise of Narendra Modi on the national scene and the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, Mann was one of the first prominent faces to join Arvind Kejriwal’s party in Punjab. He contested the Sangaru Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Despite the presence of Congress and Akali candidates, Mann won by a margin of more than 2 lakh votes. The Jat-Sikh comedian became the flag bearer of AAP in Punjab. He again won the Sangrur seat in 2019.

2017 Punjab Election

The AAP made its debut in the 2017 Punjab elections. Many believed that the party in power was in fact a natural choice. The Akali-BJP government lost the elections after a decade in power. Other leaders and workers were also there. Former Akali leader Sucha Singh was the head of the Chhotapur state unit but left after a controversy. Political opponents, meanwhile, have been campaigning, including on social media, to brand Mann as an alcoholic. The AAP won 20 seats but did not come close to winning. The Congress, led by Amarinder Singh, has won 77 seats and a slim majority in the Assembly.



Mann has been in the midst of many storms in politics for more than a decade.
In 2019, to deal with the opposition who called him an alcoholic, Mann, leaving his mother Harpal Kaur by his side, vowed to quit drinking so as not to embarrass the party because of his habit. Before AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal gathered a large crowd at the rally, Mann admitted that he used to drink alcohol occasionally.
In 2018, Mann resigned as head of AAP’s Punjab unit when Arvind Kejriwal withdrew allegations against Akali leader Vikram Singh Majithia.
In 2016, Mann, as an MP, live streamed one of his visits to Parliament on social media. Mann has been accused of undermining the security of the parliament complex, which has been targeted by terrorists in the past. Mann, however, was hostile. And his supporters are adamant.

Has the wise chief got his right time this time?

On Tuesday, the AAP announced Mann as the face of their chief minister.
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said more than 2.1 million people had responded to the party’s call for naming the chief ministerial candidate. “Some people gave my name and those votes were considered invalid,” Kejriwal said.
Of the rest, more than 90 per cent are named Bhagwant Mann, Kejriwal said. Interestingly, a number of Congress leaders have also given their favorite names to Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Bhagwant Mann will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate, Kejriwal announced with a drumbeat in his hand.
One of the AAP leaders, Mann has been waiting for his moment for several years. The party led by Kejriwal has also aggressively campaigned on the theme that after seeing the Akali and the Congress, the people of the state should be given a chance. However, questions remain about the AAP’s ability to win Punjab.
The party won 20 seats in the Malwa region in 2017 but failed to make a mark in the Majha and Doaba regions. Will the team be able to get a new place this season? Second, the peasant unions, who were expected to support the party, are now competing individually. The ruling Congress has also made Channy the first Dalit chief minister of the state. Can Mann ensure that his party can meet the challenges of the Congress, Akalis, Amarinder-BJP and the peasantry?
Only Punjab voters can say who will cast their vote on February 20.

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