New Delhi: Before Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal goes to Bengaluru this week for a throat surgery to cure a chronic cough, he will head to Punjab, where his Aam Aadmi Party has been besieged by trouble ahead of assembly elections due early next year.
- Delhi chief minister to go to Bengaluru for throat surgery next week
- Tomorrow he will go to Punjab for 3 days to oversee candidate selection
- Kejriwal not 'non-resident' CM, that should be used for PM Modi: AAP
In a video that AAP said was addressed to Punjab's youth, recorded in Italy where he attended the canonisation of Mother Teresa, Mr Kejriwal said he would be back in Punjab soon after his surgery and promised that he would handle all election matters himself. "Don't worry, I will throw out the wrong people from the party," he said.
His aides have rejected the tag of "non-resident Chief Minister" that political rivals say applies to Mr Kejriwal because of his increasing absence from Delhi for party matters in states where elections will be held next year.
"This should be used for the PM not our CM," said an indignant AAP leader Dilip Pandey, who also added, "People have faith in Kejriwal and he enforces a kind of belief that draws people, so he is bound to lead us in all states that we contest. And Goa and Punjab are no different.
Mr Kejriwal will reach Bengaluru on September 12 and will be operated upon the next day at the Narayana Hospital. He will recuperate in Bengaluru for 10 days before returning to PUNJAB on September 22.
Tomorrow, he goes to Punjab for three days to oversee selection of candidates amid allegations of corruption in AAP's distribution of election ticket that led to the party sacking its Punjab chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur.
As it grapples with rebellion against that decision, an AAP lawmaker has accused party leaders of exploiting women who want to contest the Punjab election.
AAP has already announced 32 candidates for Punjab's 117 assembly seats. Mr Kejriwal will now personally scrutinise them to rule out people with dubious antecedents, stung by the sex scandal that has rocked his government in Delhi.
"We will cancel ticket even a day before elections if we find anything against the candidate," vowed Mr Pandey.
Last week, Mr Kejriwal sacked his minister for woman and child development Sandeep Kumar over a sex video that went public. Since then, Mr Kumar, 36, has been arrested on charges of rape.
Mr Kejriwal has said he extensively vetted candidates for the Delhi election - which his party swept last year - and that Mr Kumar seems to have slipped through the cracks. He has accused the former minister of "betraying AAP and its movement."