AAP’s Bhagwant Mann, the party’s chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, spoke to NDTV on Tuesday on the unusual televote ahead of the state elections and his prospects. He scored 93 per cent in the televoting drive by the party that asked people to dial in to register their choice of the chief ministerial candidate.
Here are the highlights of his interview:
- “I gave the idea for the poll. I said traditional parties pick their candidates… we should change the process and involve citizens. We got over 22 lakh phone calls within a few days. Not only people chose me but also told us what all we should do in the state.”
- “There was no delay (in announcing the name for the Chief Minister candidate). It was part of our strategy. We still have time. Arvind Kejriwal did rallies. I had been doing rallies. We have been campaigning for years.”
- “I have won people’s trust twice. They (opposition) don’t have anything else to say about me. Even if I become the Chief Minister, they will say that the government won’t last for long,” said the two-time MP from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat and the party’s face in Parliament.”
- Amid criticism over his ‘drinking problem’, he had this to say – “I’ve put a stop to their narrative. Even party leaders of (Akali Dal’s) Sukhbir Badal are involved in drugs. I don’t need their NoC (No-Objection Certificate). At least I wasn’t drinking the blood of the people of the state.”
- “Comedy is a very serious business. And my comedy was not just to induce laughs but also thought-provoking,” he clarified on his switch to politics from being an actor and a comic. I raise the issue of cancer, farmers’ suicide, I am a two-time MP. Will people select someone who just tells a joke?”
- On Charanjit Channi becoming the Chief Minister, he attacked the Congress and said, “They changed Alibaba, but Chalis chor (40 thieves) are the same.”