Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia on Tuesday urged people in Punjab to cast their votes in the upcoming Assembly elections assuming that Arvind Kejriwal would be their chief minister. Kejriwal is now chief minister of Delhi.
Speaking in Mohali, Sisodia, Delhi’s deputy chief minister, said Kejriwal will uphold all of AAP’s promises to the people of Punjab irrespective of who becomes the chief minister. Sisodia added that MLAs will decide on the party’s candidate on the position.
His statement triggered speculation over Kejriwal being declared AAP’s chief ministerial candidate ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections. Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal said he “always knew of his [Kejriwal’s] plan” to aim for the chief minister’s position in the state.
The announcement was followed by criticism from the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party too. Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh called it a “desperate bid for power”, PTI reported. “If his nefarious design succeeds, for the first time in the history of Punjab, the state will end up with a Haryanvi chief minister,” he said. The BJP’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari said Sisodia’s announcement exposed Kejriwal’s “greed for power”. Tiwari asked the Delhi chief minister to either resign from the post in the Capital or announce his chief ministerial candidate for Punjab. “It is an irony that the person who had promised not to leave Delhi is preparing to run away from the responsibilities of Delhi in two years to deceive the people of Punjab now,” he said.
Kejriwal was first elected chief minister of Delhi in December 2013. He was dubbed “bhagoda” because he stepped down from the post after only 49 days in power. His party was re-elected in the Capital in February 2015. AAP is contesting in upcoming polls in Punjab and Goa.
AAP, Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance will contest for 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly on February 4. The polls in the state will be held in a single phase. Votes will be counted on March 11.