AAP has yielded its ‘default CM face choice’ in Bhagwant Mann in Punjab elections 2022. He is backed by a 93.3% public referendum with almost 22 lakh callers after a fruitless search for six months did not yield any believable face.
The party also does not want to reprise its error of 2017 of not running with any CM face. It feels like had cost it the previous election. After the 2017 polls, Mann was selected as AAP’s state president.
After good churning inside the party, AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal finally declared a two-time MP from Sangrur and the party’s Punjab unit president Bhagwant Mann as its CM face for the February 20 Assembly Polls.
With the party’s attempts to get a Sikh mug from outside who would be the ‘pride of Punjab’ failing to fructify and Mann relentlessly pitching himself for the coveted top job, the central leadership finally bit the bullet decided to go ahead with the Lok Sabha lawmaker.
Likewise, he will face a barrage of mockery from Congress and Akali Dal over his alcoholism. However, Mann has always claimed that he is a social drinker and has hit a parallel to the voice Captain Amarinder Singh also treasured his drink. Mann also supports his electoral record of being the only AAP MP who succeeded a seat (Sangrur) in Punjab in 2019.
The statement of Mann as the CM face could galvanize the party in the Malwa region, in which Sangrur falls, which sends over half of the MLAs to the Punjab Assembly and is key to who forms the government. However, he has constantly impressed his party and went into sulk mode for over a month last year after sensing reluctance to declare the CM face.
Before being comprehended as a politician, Mann was a famous humorist who led the local movie enterprise and did countless shows abroad in Punjab. The Great Indian Laughter Challenge TV performance in 2008 further boosted his popularity. However, Akali Dal and Congress had also prompted fun at Mann’s comedian backdrop.
“I have been told I will be declared the Chief Ministerial face; just wait till January; it will happen.” So Bhagwant Mann told this in October 2016, six months before the 2017 Punjab Polls, after a discussion in Chandigarh.
Sangrur MP had surprised one and all by conquering Akali Dal heavyweight Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa by higher than 2 lakh votes in 2014 amidst the Narendra Modi tide. AAP proceeded with no CM face in those polls after opinion polls indicated it ahead and slammed to a defeat, succeeding in just 20 seats. AAP supported announcing Mann’s controversy over his alcoholism and videos materializing an inebriated Mann struggling to walk or talk straight at many events. However, Mann still took the dip in the 2017 elections and competed against then deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal from the Jalalabad seat but lost out.