After releasing a poll and asking the people of Punjab to choose their chief ministerial (CM) candidate, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has finally announced its CM pick – the party's president in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann.
Many in the party had believed that the poll result was a foregone conclusion in favour of Mann.
But who is Bhagwant Mann? What do we know about him?
Mann has been a member of the Aam Aadmi Party since 2014 and is a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Sangrur constituency of Punjab. From 2012 to 2014, he had been a member of Manpreet Badal's People's Party of Punjab.
Born on 17 October 1973 in Sangrur district’s Satoj village, Mann is a well-known Punjabi comedian and actor with a reasonably clean image, and is seen as 'outside the political elite', which has become increasingly popular.
Mann had contested on an AAP ticket in the general elections in 2014, and had gone on to become a Lok Sabha MP.
Riding on the 'AAP wave' in Punjab, Mann won from Sangrur with a margin of over 2,00,000 votes, becoming one of the four AAP MPs elected from Punjab in those elections.
Known for his sense of humour and use of satire to drive his point home on the television show 'The Great Indian Laughter Challenge', and later, in his parliamentary debates, Mann had proved his political mettle after being the only AAP leader to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Sangrur constituency.
The leader has also had his fair share of controversies in politics after he was targeted as an alcoholic, though he had claimed that he was just a social drinker.
Considering the damage the label was inflicting on his image, in 2019, Mann vowed not to drink anymore and claimed to have become a teetotaler.
Mann had also stirred up a row when he filmed the security pickets on Parliament premises. Later, he defended himself claiming that the purpose of the video was to showcase how Parliament functions.
In an interview in 2021, Mann had informed that he and his wife Inderpreet Kaur had separated in 2015, after being estranged for a while.
She and their two children are American citizens now, he had informed. When asked why they got separated, Mann said it was because of politics. "Politics means staying with the public," he had said.
Moreover, Mann is also AAP's most prominent face in the state, without any significant competitors.
Though the Leader of Opposition in the state, Harpal Cheema, is an important face as well, he doesn't have the same popularity among cadre as Mann, who has a strong base in the politically crucial Malwa region, particularly among rural voters.
After recording an impressive performance in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections – winning 14 out of 35 wards in the city – the AAP has high hopes for Mann in the Assembly polls.
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