Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday rejected rumours that he will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections in Punjab. On Tuesday, AAP leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had asked people in Punjab to vote as though they were casting their ballots for Kejriwal, triggering speculation that he would lead the state. Kejriwal is currently chief minister of Delhi.
At a rally in Patiala, Kejriwal said, “How can I be the chief minister of Punjab when I am the chief minister of Delhi? The CM of Punjab will be from Punjab.” The party has not yet named a chief ministerial candidate for the state. Their chief ministerial candidate for Goa is Elvis Gomes.
Sisodia’s remarks at a rally in Mohali had sparked massive criticism from Opposition parties, including the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh had called Kejriwal a “sneaky little fellow” on Twitter, and said, “If his nefarious design succeeds, for the first time in the history of Punjab, the state will end up with a Haryanvi chief minister.” Delhi’s BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had said, “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.”
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.