Rediff.com  » News » Bhagwant Mann: Former comedian to Punjab's next CM

Bhagwant Mann: Former comedian to Punjab's next CM

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: March 10, 2022 18:04 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

From a comedian to the chief minister-designate of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann has come a long way in a political career of just over a decade.

Photograph: ANI Photo

Before his legislative assembly debut this time, he has been elected twice as a Member of Parliament from Sangrur.

And weeks before the Punjab election, the Aam Aadmi Party declared him its CM face after a phone-in poll, called 'Janta Chunegi Apna CM' (people will pick their own CM).

The AAP state unit president was the first choice of over 90 per cent of the 21 lakh callers.

In Punjab, the 48-year-old has been the most recognizable face of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, which has swept the assembly polls.

At his press conference when he was picked as the AAP man for the top post, the ex-comic and the party's lone MP in the Lok Sabha admitted that earlier people laughed when they saw his face.

"Now, it is completely reverse. When I go to any public meeting or any meeting, people now cry when they look at my face while narrating their problems and say save us," he had said, harping on what the AAP felt has gone wrong with the state.

 

This time he fought the polls from Dhuri, an assembly segment in his Sangrur parliamentary constituency, winning by a margin of over 58,000. The crowd-puller had campaigned across the state for his party.

Born in Sangrur's Satoj village in October 1973, Mann enrolled for a B Com degree from Shaheed Udham Singh Government College in Sunam in the same district.

He didn't complete the course, but college gave him an opportunity to take part in several youth festivals.

He went on bring out comedy videos and music albums, and perform in Punjabi movies, including '22g Tusi Ghaint Ho' and 'Police in Pollywood'.

Appearing The Great Indian Laughter Challenge was a high point in his career as an entertainer.

Navjot Singh Sidhu, who now heads the Congress in Punjab, also happened to have made several appearances on the popular TV show.

His political career began in 2011 when he joined the Manpreet Singh Badal-led People's Party of Punjab, an off shoot of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The PPP was to merge later with the Congress.

Next year, Mann fought from the Lehra assembly constituency in Sangrur as a PPP candidate but lost to senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

In 2014, Mann joined the AAP and contested against Akali heavyweight Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.

He won by over two lakh votes and the AAP itself went on to win four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.

Mann unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly polls against SAD's Sukhbir Singh Badal for the Jalalabad seat.

But Arvind Kejriwal's party won 20 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly, ending up as the state's main opposition party. Mann was made its state unit president.

He resigned from the post in 2018 after Kejriwal apologised to Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia in a defamation case but was back in the AAP-fold soon.

Mann won the Sangrur seat again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with a margin over one lakh votes.

During his political career, Mann has been hounded by accusations that he has a "drinking problem".

In 2016, the then AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa complained against him to the Lok Sabha Speaker, seeking a change in his seat. He alleged that Mann, who sat next to him, reeked of liquor.

At a 2019 rally in Barnala, in the presence of Kejriwal and his mother, Mann vowed to give up liquor. Mann had then accused his political rivals of defaming him by portraying him as a "born drunkard".

As he eyed the CM's post, his rivals referred to the "problem", arguing what was point of having a CM who would not be accessible after a certain point in the day.

"I have countered this. The public has also given its response," he had said a while back, referring to his re-election as an MP. The people appear to have spoken once again.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
The War Against Coronavirus

The War Against Coronavirus