Is AAP's Delhi high command pulling the strings in Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab govt?
Meetings between AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann send the message that the latter is depending on commands from its Delhi head.
- AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal often holds meetings with AAP’s Punjab MLA’s and chief minister Bhagwant Mann
- Kejriwal praised Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema's budget while Congress criticised it
Is this the blatant interference of Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Delhi team in Punjab governments affairs that led to its debacle in Sangrur Lok Sabha by-elections that too when, just a few months ago, the party scripted history by winning 92 out of 117 assembly seats that too with a whooping margin?
Meetings between Kejriwal and Mann
The virtual meetings held by AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with AAP’s Punjab MLA’s and chief minister Bhagwant Mann as well as with the bureaucrats is not a hidden secret but these meetings send the message to the general public that Mann-led Punjab government is depending on commands from Delhi.
Delhi CM's response to Punjab's first budget
Party’s first budget in Punjab was also highly censured by the opposition parties. When Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema presented his first budget, it was Kejriwal who praised the budgetary provisions stating that it would take Punjab towards a golden future but opposition Congress called it a 'bunch of lies'.
AAP's Rajya Sabha nominations from Punjab
Then comes the nomination of AAP’s Rajya Sabha Member Parliaments from Punjab. Party picked up Delhi MLA Raghav Chadha who is also considered a close confident of Kejriwal, cricketer Harbhajan Singh, industrialist Sanjeev Arora, Lovely Professional University Founder Ashok Mittal, IIT Delhi professor Sandeep Pathak and all of them were elected unopposed. The message was sent across that their names were finalized after consultation with party leaders and but the grapevine is that the Delhi team played a major role and took the final decision.
It is also noticeable that Raghav Chadha, dubbed an outsider in Punjab, is being given special treatment especially after he was not only sent to Rajya Sabha but also appointed as Chairman of the advisory committee constituted to consul Punjab government on various issues. However, Chadha’s appointment as Chairman of the advisory committee has been challenged in Punjab and Haryana High Court.
It’s not that AAP ’s poll strategists are not aware of the simmering resentment against their leader's decisions in Punjab especially when the party is eyeing the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections and the party’s ‘Mission Himachal Pradesh’ didn’t evoke the desired response from the hill state.