Bhagwant Mann is no laughing matter. The former comedian could prove to be the joker in the pack in Punjab. If the Aam Aadmi Party wins in the state, the credit for it would go largely to Mann. He is the man who got the party the crowds and wild following, not so much Arvind Kejriwal. Whether the party would discover a serious politician in the funny guy and anoint him chief minister is a matter of conjecture though. The party has to win first.
To say Mann is liked in the Malwa region, which accounts for 69 seats in the 117-member assembly, would be an understatement. He is adored. Thus, it mattered little to people when he appeared sloshed and unsteady on his feet while campaigning for his party, which ironically promises people an addiction-free state. His satire-laced political speeches and innovation on kiklis targeting opponents, particularly the Badals, were lapped up with zest by the audience.
What makes his case interesting is he has pitched himself against Sukhbir Badal, the powerful deputy chief minister of Punjab and the heir apparent of the Badal dynasty.
If he wins, he assumes the aura of a giant killer. Given the mood of anger against the latter, poll observers say Mann could pull it off. This would make his case for the top job stronger. But he has not shown any direct interest in it so far. His lack of seriousness as a parliamentarian may work against him too.
However, one thing is sure, even without the chief minister’s job, Mann would remain a top draw in Punjab. The results of the election do not matter. The existing political equations in Punjab are likely to go for a toss after 11 March.
Till a new normal takes final shape with the AAP firmly entrenched in the politicalscape, he will enjoy the newfound rock star status.
Updated Date: Mar 10, 2017 07:35 AM