Daggers are out in the Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit with party MP Bhagwant Mann slamming the party leadership for the drubbing in the recent state Assembly elections, stating that not naming a chief ministerial candidate cost them heavy. The AAP’s Sangrur MP said the party should look within to find out the reasons which stopped its march to power in Punjab. Contrary to AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s stand, Mann said there was no use in finding fault with the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
He also slammed the party leadership for “behaving like a ‘mohalla’ (local) cricket team,” and said AAP had committed a “historic blunder” in Punjab with regard to the overall electoral strategy. AAP state convenor Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi endorsed Mann’s remarks. “What Mann has said should be taken seriously by Arvind Kejriwal. The party convenor (Kejriwal) should speak to Mann to know why he thinks so,” he told PTI.
He said the central party leadership has “failed miserably” to make a contact with party activists at the ground level. The Kejriwal-led party had won 20 out of a total of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly polls. The Congress had registered a thumping win securing 77 seats, while SAD-BJP managed to win 18 seats.
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Mann, who contested unsuccessfully against former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad seat in the state polls, lamented that “over confidence” of certain leaders of the party high command spoiled AAP’s poll prospects in Punjab. He also hinted that all political options were open for him and he would take a call after returning from the US next month. “I have conveyed my feelings to (AAP convener) Arvind Kejriwal in detail and told him how the party high command was responsible for its defeat in the Assembly elections in Punjab, where people came in droves to take part in rallies and other programmes,” the AAP leader said.
Meanwhile, posters of Kejriwal outside Mann’s house in Mohali near here were found torn today. Reacting over the poor performance of the AAP in Delhi municipal polls today, Ghuggi said, “AAP leaders have failed to take people in confidence.”