Bhagwant Mann: Stand-Up Comic Is AAP's Tallest Leader In Punjab

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Bhagwant Mann: Stand-Up Comic Is AAP's Tallest Leader In Punjab

Punjab elections 2017: Bhagwant Mann is widely seen as AAP's chief ministerial candidate


New Delhi:  Bhagwant Mann, one of the two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) parliamentarians in Punjab, is famous for his razor sharp one-liners. As for his audience, bhashanbaazi was never so much fun.

"If the Badals had their way, we would all have to use this email address: BadalBadal@Badal.com," the 44-year-old said to a gathering recently. He also had another name for what he described as the family's arrogance - tech giant Google would be called "Google Badal Google," he said.

AAP's biggest crowd magnet in Punjab - one of the country's most popular stand-up comedians - is widely seen as the party's chief ministerial candidate, though there has been no such announcement.
AAP has been careful not to betray any discomfiture at allegations that Mr Mann has a drinking problem. Confronted with media questions about his alleged fondness for drinking, he shoots back, "Do a blood test." He says it in front of a large crowd, without batting an eyelid.
Recently in newspaper photographs from a public meeting, he was seen struggling to get up from the floor. The caption suggests that he arrived drunk at the event, then subjected his audience to antics like blowing kisses, turning his back to them and falling on the stage.

The stand-up comic denies that he is anything more than a social drinker. In 2015, Mr Mann was accused of staggering in drunk to a condolence meeting, from where he was eventually asked to leave.

The lawmaker always seen in a bright yellow turban doesn't mind being the maverick among his peers.

Born in Sangrur, Mr Mann gained prominence by performing skits in Punjabi. He began with youth festivals and inter-college competitions.

With fame came TV recognition. His comedy based on socio-political themes became a big hit.

In 2014, Mr Mann was one of the four AAP leaders who won in Punjab, a score that heartened the debutant party.

The lawmaker's earthy sense of humour was a big hit during debates in parliament. The sheen faded somewhat when last year, he was forced to stay out of parliament for long stretches after live-streaming on Facebook his journey into the parliament building, which, according to other MPs, severely compromised security.


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