The Aam Aadmi Party, looking to make inroads into Punjab, is facing rebellion from its state unit president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, who wants the party to declare him as the chief minister for the upcoming assembly polls.
While Mann has been repeatedly emphasising that party leaders and workers want him to be named as the CM candidate, the party is believed to be wary about presenting Mann as the chief ministerial face, according to The Indian Express.
Mann, who has been supporters at his house for the past one week, has been sending out signals to the central leadership that he is the popular choice amongst party members to be named as the AAP’s CM candidate. Some AAP MLAs too have extended support to Mann’s demand, thereby underlining a rift in the party.
Addressing the media in Sangrur on Saturday, Mann made it clear that a large number of AAP workers want to see him as the CM candidate. He also made remarks that the party must see the ground realities and listen to ground workers while deciding on the name of the CM candidate.
The Indian Express quoted sources in the party saying that Mann’s remarks and actions pushing the central leadership to name him as the CM candidate have not gone down well.
Mann has also been running a sustained campaign on social media showing the crowds outside his house and party workers coming to meet him.
Apart from the workers, there have been MLAs of the party who have openly supported Mann’s name as the CM’s face for the 2022 polls. Kotkapura MLA, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Mehal Kalan MLA, Kulwant Singh Pandori, have been among those who have openly supported his candidature.
AAP’s Harpal Singh Cheema, who is the Leader of Opposition and also MLA from Dirba, however, downplayed the the gatherings at Mann’s house. “These are just enthusiastic workers. There is nothing more to it,” he said.
While Mann is insistent on accepting nothing less than being the CM face of the party, the central leadership is in no mood to do so, given issues with his “social acceptance” and “personal conduct”.