Arvind Kejriwal addressing a public meeting in Badshahpur ahead of Punjab election next month
The Chief Minister will be from Punjab if the Aam Aadmi Party comes to power in that state, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asserted today, after his deputy Manish Sisodia's comments were seen to hint at a shift for him. "I am Delhi Chief Minister, I cannot become Punjab Chief Minister," Mr Kejriwal said at a public meeting in Badshahpur village in Shutrana constituency, but added that "whoever becomes Chief Minister, it will be my responsibility to fulfill promises." That was what Mr Sisodia meant, the AAP chief explained, when he asked people of Punjab to vote for Arvind Kejriwal at a rally in Mohali near Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Mr Sisodia's vote appeal has been seized by political rivals Congress and the BJP as a broad hint that Mr Kejriwal intends to give up his post of Delhi chief minister and move to Punjab.
"Kejriwal's ugly intentions have been thoroughly exposed with this development, which had shown what a slimy liar the Delhi Chief Minister is... Kejriwal has finally exposed his obsessive and abominable lust for Punjab's chief ministerial position," alleged Captian Amrinder Singh, the Congress' Punjab chief.
In Delhi, BJP lawmaker Vijendra Gupta said, "This was a hidden agenda of Kejriwal. He has once again betrayed Delhi as he did not do anything for two years. Manisha Sisodia thought that taking his name would give them votes but that is not going to work."
AAP sources say Arvind Kejriwal has no plan to move to Punjab. Mr Sisodia's comments, they said, were designed to garner votes in Mr Kejriwal's name, some admitting that it wouldn't hurt to confuse voters.
AAP has not named a presumptive Chief Minister for Punjab, where it hopes to replicate its performance in the Delhi assembly elections two years ago. Arvind Kejriwal's party had swept Delhi winning 67 of 70 seats.
Top AAP leaders have been campaigning hard in Punjab, which has traditionally seen the Congress and the Akali Dal-BJP battle it out. Manish Sisodia is also campaigning in Punjab.