With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) naming Bhagwant Mann as its Chief Ministerial candidate, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday said AAP had fallen back on “compromised candidate” as no one was ready to lead the party in Punjab.
Terming the nomination of Mann as a stage-managed non-event, the SAD president said AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal never wanted to make Mann the face of the party in Punjab.
“He (Kejriwal) has been saying so at Mann’s face while asserting that the party was looking for a capable candidate. It is also a fact that AAP sounded off a number of prospective candidates but each and every one of them refused to lead the party. This is why the responsibility has been thrust on Mann after a make belief survey,” he added.
Badal said making Mann the face of the party reflected the complete bankruptcy of AAP. “A desperate public relation exercise is underway to wash away Mann’s omissions and commissions and project him as a leader who can take on the mantle of chief minister even though his wayward and irresponsible conduct is well known to each and everyone,” he added.
The SAD chief said AAP has led a very public campaign urging Punjabis to repose their trust in Kejriwal for more than one year. “During this same period Kejriwal has asserted that Mann is not capable of holding this post. Now when AAP has exhausted all options and chosen Mann to lead the party in Punjab, it needs to explain why Punjabis should trust a leader who Kejriwal refused to endorse for more than one year,” he said.
“Kejriwal cannot take Punjabis to be so naive as to approve his rubber stamped candidate. They need strong and decisive leadership as well as a leader with a proven track record of conducting swift development as well as ensuring law and order and peace and communal harmony in this border State. Bhagwant Mann does not fit this bill,” Badal added.