Punjab government reduced to 'tamasha'; remove tainted ministers: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

By PTI

LUDHIANA: AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday refused to make any announcement on his party’s chief ministerial face for the Punjab Assembly polls, but said a good candidate would be picked when the time comes.

Replying to a reporter’s question on any possibility of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who recently resigned as the Punjab Congress chief, joining the AAP, he said, “It is a hypothetical question. If such a thing happens, we will let you know.”

Kejriwal also referred to Bhagwant Mann, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Punjab unit, as his younger brother.

Mann is said to be an aspirant for the party’s chief ministerial face in the Punjab polls, slated to be held early next year.

When a reporter said Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is presenting himself as an “aam aadmi” (common man), Kejriwal said, “It is easy to copy Kejriwal but it is difficult to implement.”

“When for the first time, my government was formed for 49 days, I had sent 32 officers involved in corruption to jail. There are accusations that corrupt and tainted officers are being given big posts (in Punjab). 

“Today, allegations are levelled that there are members in Channi’s council of ministers who are tainted. I want to tell him that besides copying Kejriwal, he should have the courage to take action,” he added. The Delhi chief minister said people did not join his party for any post.

“All of them have come for (serving) the society and the country,” he said at a press conference here on the concluding day of his two-day Punjab visit.

Kejriwal pointed out that he has repeatedly said “when the time comes, we will give you a good chief ministerial face”.

“He could be anyone. Presently, we are not thinking about it,” he added.

During his visit to Amritsar in June, the AAP supremo had announced that the party’s chief ministerial face for the Punjab polls will be from the Sikh community.

However, he had not named anyone.

Citing certain media reports on Mann, who is said to be an aspirant for the AAP’s chief ministerial face in Punjab, Kejriwal referred to him as his younger brother.

“What you keep publishing in the newspapers, there is nothing like that,” he said, in an apparent reference to media reports on Mann sulking over the party not announcing his name as its chief ministerial candidate.

With Mann, a comedian-turned-politician, seated next to him, Kejriwal said there was a time when the Sangrur MP used to earn lakhs of rupees from his entertainment shows.

“He left everything for Punjab. At that time, he did not join the AAP. He has made sacrifices for Punjab,” he said.

The supporters of Mann have been demanding that the party leadership declare him as its chief ministerial candidate.

To another question on AAP leaders’ reported statements that farmers in Punjab should be penalised for stubble-burning, which causes pollution in Delhi, Kejriwal said, “Who said this? None of our leaders has ever said this. You show me the statement that any AAP leader has said this, I will quit politics. But do not spread lies.”

He then spelled out the steps taken by the Delhi government to curb stubble-burning.

“We gave a solution for stubble-burning. We have made a bio-decomposer. Farmers are in a hurry to sow the next crop, so they set stubble on fire. There is no fault of the farmers in this. It is the fault of the governments. What were they doing? Why did they not find solutions? But we do not indulge in the politics of blame game, we do the politics of finding solutions to problems,” the Delhi chief minister said.

He said his government has come up with a solution to convert stubble into manure, which if the AAP comes to power in Punjab, will also be implemented in the state.

Kejriwal targeted the Congress government in Punjab, saying while there is unemployment in the state, the promise of giving an unemployment allowance was not met.