AMRITSAR: As a former big-name comic in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP knows his way around repartee. At rallies, however, he has been reticent about playing for laughs, allegedly because he wants to be taken seriously enough to be considered for Chief Minister.
But a little needling does the needful. Driving in a car to a public meeting, Mr Mann, currently one of the Aam Aadmi Party's two MPs, delivered a litany of one-liners for the Badals, the family that anchors the Akali Dal party which currently governs Punjab with the BJP.
"If the Badals had their way, we would all have to use this sort of email address: BadalBadal@Badal.com," the 44-year-old said, deriding the family's proclivity to promote itself. Parkash Singh Badal is Chief Minister, his son Sukhbir is his deputy, daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur is a union minister and her younger brother Bikram Singh Majithia is a Punjab minister. Mr Mann reimagined another tech giant, Google as a Badal property if it were in Punjab. 'It would be called "Google Badal Google," he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party has not picked a Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab, but sources said Mr Mann may be close to establishing himself as the best choice, not least because he is a crowd-magnet. Last year, he also attracted a mega controversy when he live-streamed his arrival in parliament and was found guilty of compromising its security.
He is now running for election to the Punjab legislature against Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad.