Won’t have pre or post poll tie-ups: Punjab AAP chief Bhagwant Mann
The Aam Aadmi Party wants to replicate the ‘Delhi Model’ in Punjab and after the transformative ‘Punjab Model,’ it will be presented before the country, Punjab AAP chief, who is also a Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann tells Harpreet Bajwa in an interview. Here are excerpts:
There was a buzz AAP would tie up with the new party floated by farmer unions. Why didn’t it happen? Will you have post-poll ties with others?
We are not having any pre-poll or post-poll alliance with any party or group.
AAP in Punjab means Bhagwant Mann. However, the party has not announced you as a CM candidate. Will it not affect party’s prospects?
The public loves me. I am a loyal and disciplined solider of the party. Nor do I have big dreams. The public of Sangrur (his Lok Sabha constituency) made me an MP for a second term. The name of the CM face will be decided by the party’s decision-making body. It is up to the party as to how much they trust me.
A perception persists that AAP is remote-controlled by its Delhi leadership. Why should voters give AAP a chance in Punjab?
We are not remote-controlled from Delhi. I am the Punjab president of the party and I take all decisions. Yes, we discuss things with our national convener in Delhi.
AAP has had to face infighting and desertions, some MLAs left due to denial of ticket. Your comment?
Our party is of common people and the MLAs who left us have not got party ticket from other parties. Political leaders come and go but the intention and ideology should not change. Look at Congress — it is a circus. We respect our volunteers. There are differences, but there can be differences of opinion in any party.
In case your party comes to power in Punjab, how would you like to see Punjab??
If we come to power, we want our ‘Rangla Punjab’ — which the state was known for its gidha and bhangra, for producing generals of the army and of kabaddi players. We want to make Punjab a true Punjab, not California, London or Paris.
What are the key election issues in Punjab?
Drug abuse, sacrilege, corruption, unemployment and price rise are our main issues. Besides, we want to stop the brain drain as a growing number of our youth is going abroad. We will create job opportunities for them back here.
Your party says ‘Delhi Model’ will be implemented in Punjab. Will it be successful?
The Delhi Model will be implemented here and will be very successful. In Delhi we continue to face problems as files are stopped by the Lt Governor on one pretext or the other. Punjab is a full state, we will make this a Punjab model and present it before the country.
Do you think the lapse in PM Modi’s security will be an election issue in Punjab?
No, I do not think so. In Delhi polls, the BJP talked about hate politics. Only Arvind Kejriwal told the people a month before the polls that if the public liked the work he did for Delhi, vote for him otherwise do not. You need guts to say this.