Kejriwal junks speculations, says ‘Punjab’s CM will be from Punjab’
In an apparent attempt at putting all speculations to rest, Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday declared that he was not a contender for the Chief Minister’s post in Punjab.
“I am Delhi’s Chief Minister, I can not be of Punjab’s. Punjab’s CM will be from Punjab only,” he said in Patiala today, a day after his deputy in Delhi, Manish Sisodia, asked people to vote in Punjab polls for the AAP in the name of Kejriwal.
"Whoever may be CM, I will ensure implementation of promises. What is wrong if Sisodia said that?" said Kejriwal.
In an appeal to Punjab voters yesterday, Sisodia said at a rally in Mohali, “People casting their votes in Punjab should do so keeping in mind that they are voting for Arvind Kejriwal as their next Chief Minister.”
His comments sparked speculations that Kejriwal will be presented as AAP’s CM face in Punjab Assembly polls.
The party, however, clarified that Kejriwal is the party's face in Punjab but that doesn't mean he will be its Chief Minister if the AAP wins.
AAP leader Atishi Marlena told a private TV channel that Sisodia's remarks on Kejriwal being the CM face in Punjab were twisted out of context.
"He (Sisodia) said vote as if Kejriwal is going to be the CM. He did not say Kejriwal will be the Chief Minister. He is the face of AAP and that is the face the people of Punjab are looking at," Marlena said.
"Kejriwal represents AAP. He represents credibility because he fulfilled several promises in Delhi. He is bringing that credibility to Punjab saying all promises made to the people of Punjab will be fulfilled," she said.
"This is not same as saying that he will be the CM there."
Sisodia’s remarks invited huge criticism from other political parties, mainly Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal.
Attacking Kejriwal, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh said if the "nefarious design succeeds", for the first time in the history of the state, it will end up with a "Haryanvi chief minister".
"Kejriwal's ugly intentions have been thoroughly exposed with this development, which had shown what a slimy liar the Delhi chief minister is...Kejriwal has finally exposed his obsessive and abominable lust for Punjab's chief ministerial position," he said in a statement.
SAD said that Kejriwal was trying to foist "outsider" Arvind Kejriwal on Punjab after scuttling the chances of its own leaders from the state who could have posed a challenge to him.
Party president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that if a 'Haryanvi' comes to power in the state, the interests of Punjab will be sold off and asserted that voters will not be befooled by AAP.
"The cat is out of the bag. Kejriwal has been salivating to become chief minister of Punjab since two years now and finally the party has made the announcement after clearing all the road blocks in his way," Badal said in a statement.
Punjab will go to polls on February 4, with counting to be held on March 11.