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Bhagwant Mann Gets Candid on AAP Infighting & Quitting Alcohol

Mann says there was no need for the AAP to form alliance in Punjab or Delhi, “We will get 7 of 7 seats in Delhi.”

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4 min read

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim, Vivek Gupta
Cameraperson: Aishwarya S Iyer

In this freewheeling chat on a truck in Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, AAP’s Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann tackles questions on AAP’s inability to forge alliances in Punjab (and Delhi), his public announcement of giving up alcohol and why MLAs are leaving the party in the run up to elections 2019.

Read the interview here.

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You made an interesting announcement in January 2019 when you said you will never drink alcohol. Why did you feel the need to make such a personal choice public through an announcement?

See, they formed a perception towards me. First they tried to find an issue with me regarding corruption MPLADS, etc. That I do not do. Then they tried to pick up an old video of mine and make a perception of that he drinks all day and night. So I said, no problem, if in the fight for elections in Punjab they used a personal habit of mine – that was never as big of an issue as they made out – I will publicly announce that for Punjab’s fight, I am willing to do this as well.

You are the convenor of the AAP party in Punjab, you’re the president of AAP here. It is you responsibility that under your leadership the party remains strong. But we see every day that MLAs are leaving the party and joining others. Why is this happening?

Some people who joined the party were greedy for political posts. The Congress is down to dirty politics. The Aam Aam Party is made of ordinary citizens, not of leaders. The one or two who have left are regretting having left because volunteers are questioning them and their promises.

But MPs have also left and starter their own political parties?

You ask me this on 23 May. They are contesting in their own right, Sukhpal Khaira is also contesting, right? So wait for 23 May.

What do you have to say about Sukhpal Khaira?

He is a selfish man who has caused a lot of damage to Punjab, for years... that damage cannot be fixed. He came, took the ticket he wanted, became Leader of Opposition (LoP). When someone else was made LoP, he said, ‘Arvind Kejriwal is a dictator’. He is contesting from Bathinda to help Harsimrat Kaur Badal win. He still has not resigned from the post of MLA. He is greedy for posts. But the party whose name on which you fought the elections and became MLA from, at least resign from it first.

You said something interesting that ‘Arvind Kejriwal is a dictator,’ this is an opinion that echoes in Delhi as well – that he is authoritative, people do not like the way he controls the party.

No no, you ask the people of Delhi yourself. The person who leaves the party says Kejriwal is a dictator. Here in Punjab, they say Bhagwant Mann does not let new leadership emerge from the party, does not give tickets to people. He is only and only the president of the party. A party’s head will give orders to run the party, right? He is the captain, change him the next time around.

You’ve been the MP here for five years. What have you done for the people of Sangrur in five years?

I’m the member of the 16th Lok Sabha, before me there were 15 others. Not one raised their voice. I went and spoke openly on the issue of farmers, unemployment, government schools and government hospitals. I spoke about all of it. In the second place, the MPLADS funds, the money I got plus the interest I spent on the people. I constructed libraries, solar lights school buildings, furniture, and RO filters were given for water. CCTVs were put in cities. The budget I had, I did more than that.

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Sir, here (in Punjab) you tried to forge alliances with the BSP and SAD (Taksali). Also last year we read that AAP leaders met with Sucha Singh Chotepur to clear issues and patch up. But finally nothing happened. So why is it that the AAP is not able to forge alliances? The same thing is happening in Delhi. In Delhi also, AAP is not able to forge alliances.

On 23 May, you ask me this question. On 23 May, people will tell you whether there was a need for the alliance or not. On 23 May, the people of Delhi will show that we did not need an alliance, that we will get 7 of 7 seats. On 23 May, the people of Punjab will also tell you that if the AAP didn’t forge alliances, then that is alright. They are being greedy. Asking for this seat and that seat, we said okay, we will go in front of the people

What is your prediction this election season?

Aam Aadmi Party will perform better than  it did in the last election.

So more than four (seats), you’re saying.

Aam Aadmi Party will perform better than it did in the last election.

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