Next Central govt cannot be formed without AAP’s support: Punjab CM Mann

Chandigarh, 28 Apr: The next government at the Centre cannot be formed without AAP’s support, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said on Sunday.
He claimed the INDIA bloc would win 120-125 of the 190 seats that went to the polls in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections, and expressed confidence that the opposition alliance will assume power at the Centre after the polls.
Mann also announced that on April 30, he will meet AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in Tihar jail, where he is lodged in an excise policy-linked money laundering case.
“AAP will be a partner in the (next) government. The next government cannot be formed without AAP’s support,” the Punjab CM said.
The Kejriwal-led party is a constituent of the opposition INDIA bloc. However, it is contesting the Lok Sabha polls independently in Punjab.
Addressing a gathering in Barnala in support of AAP’s Sangrur candidate Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, Mann said the constituency is and will always be AAP’s “capital (stronghold)”.
He claimed that AAP chief Kejriwal deeply cares about Sangrur and always asks about it.
“Last time I went to meet him in jail, he first asked about Sangrur. I told him the next time I come to meet him, I would tell him the ground reality. Today, seeing the enthusiasm of the people here, it is clear that we are winning Sangrur by a huge margin,” Mann said.
Attacking his rival parties, Mann said the Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP and the Congress are not able to find candidates for Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats.
“Their leaders are refusing to contest the elections because they know defeat is certain. Their plight is the result of their misdeeds,” he said.
Listing the achievements of his two-year-old dispensation, Mann said, “We have made electricity free for 90 per cent of households. We have already closed 14 toll plazas, bringing financial relief to people. The previous government used to extend the period of toll plazas by taking money.”
He also claimed that the state government arranged for 11 hours of uninterrupted electricity every day for the farming community.
“We also supplied canal water to about 60 per cent of Punjab’s area to save electricity and groundwater. By October, this figure will increase to 70 per cent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mann also took out a road show in Ludhiana in favour of party candidate Ashok Parashar Pappi on Sunday evening.
Addressing the gathering, he said Ludhiana is the “heart” of Punjab and “winning from here means winning Punjab’s heart”. (PTI)
Calling Ludhiana his ‘karambhoomi’, the CM said he started his career as a comedian from here in 1991.
Mann said he has been getting a very good response from all the places he’s been visiting for campaign, and asked the people of Ludhiana to press the button of ‘broom’ (party symbol) on June 1 to ensure victory of his party’s nominees. (PTI)