From Standing Comics to AAP CM Candidate

As his party’s national organizer nominated him as chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls, one could easily notice his tears in his eyes, perhaps remembering the extraordinary trip he made in his life after coming from Satoj, a village in Sangrur district of Punjab. Stand-up comedian, actor and double MP, Bhagwant Mann is the Aam Aadmi party man for Punjab.

After a long wait and a televoting campaign which demanded Punjabis to suggest the CM candidate for the party, Delhi CM and AAP National Organizer Arvind Kejriwal announced on Tuesday that Bhagwant Mann was the chief ministerial candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for Punjab. In a dramatic reveal of the results of the televoting campaign, Kejriwal said that more than 21 lakh people took part in the vote, and Mann got the majority of votes i.e. 93%.

Early life

Born to a Jat Sikh family in Satoj village in Sangrur district, Punjab, Mann continued his education at Shaheed Udham Singh Government College, Sunam, where he began participating in youth comedy festivals and interuniversity competitions. With his unparalleled wit and humor, Mann won two gold medals in a competition at the Punjabi University of Patiala for his college.

Mann developed comedy routines on typical Indian issues such as politics, business and sports and debuted with a comedy album Gobhi Diye Kachiye Vaparanay in 1992. In partnership with Jagtar Jaggi, Mann went on to do a TV show titled Jugnu Kehnda Hai for Alpha ETC Punjabi. Parting ways with Jaggi after ten years, Mann teamed up with Rana Ranbir and made the television program, Mast Jugnu Mast for Alpha ETC Punjabi. Mann also worked with legendary satirist Jaspal Bhatti.

Bhagwan Mann (right) with Jaspal Bhatti (right).

However, Mann shot to fame across the country when he took part in the Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star Plus. Fun fact: Navjot Singh Sidhu, his opponent in Congress in the current election, was the judge on this show.

Bhagwant Mann, in his 3-decade career in comedy, has made over 20 comedy albums. He has also acted in 13 Punjabi films.

Entry into politics

In 2011, after years of political satire, Bhagawant Mann entered active politics and joined the Punjab People’s Party (PPP) founded by Parkash Badal’s nephew, Manpreet Badal. However, his first election attempt did not go well. He contested the Lehra constituency assembly elections in 2012, but could not win.

In March 2014, Mann joined Aam Aadmi party to contest elections in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency. He won by 211,721 votes. He was also the organizer of AAP Punjab but quit after Arvind Kejriwal issued an unconditional apology to Bikram Singh Majithia over a drug mafia affair. In 2017, he participated in the elections in Jalalabad against Sukhbir Singh Badal and Ravneet Singh Bittu. He lost the elections in Badal by 18,500 votes. In 2019, he again won the Lok Sabha seat of Sangrur in India’s general election by 111,111 votes. He is the only member of the Aam Aadmi party in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of parliament.

drinker to teetotaler

Mann and controversy go hand in hand. He was frequently targeted by rivals due to his former addiction to alcohol. He was accused of compromising the security of Parliament and even attending the house while drunk. After footage of him allegedly drunk in public interactions went viral, Mann made a promise of abstinence and vowed never to drink again at a party in 2019. His mother by his side, he had promised that he would devote his time to working for the people of Punjab.

fiery speaker

Known as a fiery orator, Bhagwant Mann’s speeches inside parliament often go viral. With his subtle satire developed over the years, Mann’s speeches are not only appreciated by the opposition benches, but also by the Treasury benches.

In one of his famous 2014 speeches, Mann played on the BJP’s iconic election slogan “Achche Din (Good Days)” to ask when the good days would come, especially with rising fuel prices and rail fares. . In a satirical poem titled “Ache din kab aane wale hai?” (When will the good weather come?), Mann took down the BJP’s poll promises one by one.

In another iconic speech, he targeted the BJP over the number of defectors from the saffron party.

“Do you know that there are 116 BJP MPs who are defectors? I feel like TV stations are wasting money on election polls, they should just study where these MPs go to determine who wins I will ask Modiji to change the oath of secrecy for these MPs It should look like this: “main yeh shapath leta hoon, ki koi shapath le ya na le, main shapath loonga hi loonga” (I will be sworn in power, whether someone else does or not), ” he said with a chuckle.

Upcoming challenges

Although the AAP leads the state in all surveys and opinion polls, the multi-pole contest in the North State is more than meets the eye. As Congress’s Charanjit Singh Channi quickly rises to statewide fame, and the BJP and Amarinder Singh’s newly formed party join hands, the competition in Punjab is far from over. With just over a month to go until Election Day, Mann faces the challenge of keeping his party’s momentum going. With restrictions imposed on physical gatherings and road shows in the wake of the third wave of Covid, Mann has a responsibility to reach out to the people of Punjab through digital campaigns and other means, while coping to parties like the Congress, the BJP and the SAD, which have more resources than the AAP. The AAP’s performance in the last Assembly election in the state is certainly a silver lining for Mann, and he would do his best to capitalize on the gains of this election, leading the AAP to the long-awaited victory. in the neighboring state.

Daniel K. Denny