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AAP Punjab manifesto makes it clear who its CM candidate is

Catch Team | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:45 IST

The Aam Aadmi Party released it manifesto for the Punjab Assembly elections on Friday. The manifesto reflects the manner in which AAP has made drug trafficking a key issue in the elections as it contains several steps for cracking down on the menace.

This includes the setting up of a drug task force and launching a high level investigation into the involvement of politicians and officials in drug trafficking.

The party has made a number of significant promises ranging from as free laptops for students ahead of their board exams, abolition of property tax, creation of subsidised canteens and cheaper electrivity. It also promises that AAP MLA or minsiter would use vehicles with red beacons and hooters and that personal security would be slashed by 95% to eradicate Punjab's VIP culture.

The manifesto's significance lies not just in the promises but also in the optics. The graphics posted by AAP Punjab on social media contain the promises with the picture of one out of two leaders - AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal or Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann. In Goa, the other poll bound state where AAP leading a high voltage campaign, the party's publicity material has been showcasing either Kejriwal or the party's chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes.

Kejriwal has taken himself out of the race by announcing that he has no intention of leaving Delhi and that Punjab's CM will be from Punjab.

Even though the party hasn't announced a CM candidate, the manifesto makes it clear that Bhagwant Mann is face it is seeking to project across the state. Incidentally, the manifesto was released by Bhagwant Mann and senior leader Sanjay Singh in Chandigarh. Here are some of the promises.

It isn't surprising that AAP is projecting Mann as its face in Punjab. The former comedian is undoubtedly the most popular among the party's Punjab leaders. His rallies and roadshows across Punjab are drawing huge crowds and he has emerged as AAP's star campaigner. Of late he has been addressing as many as 8 rallies a day, more than any other leader.

He also happens to be a Jatt Sikh from Punjab's politically crucial Malwa region that accounts for 69 out of the state's 117 Assembly seats. And it is in this region that AAP is getting the maximum traction.

Of course, for Mann to ascend the CM's chair, not only will AAP have to win a majority, he will have to defeat Sukhbir Singh Badal in the latter's bastion Jalalabad.

First published: 27 January 2017, 6:17 IST