Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann was seen as the villain of the piece last year when he allegedly compromised Parliament’s security while doing a Facebook live. For many youngsters in Punjab, however, he is a star who also provides comic relief.
At around 9.30pm in Brass village in Fatehgarh Sahib, Mann, who is fighting against Punjab deputy chief minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad, is in his elements, using his skills of a stand-up comic to draw in the crowds and warm them up on a bitterly cold Punjabi night. In his crosshairs are the powerful Badal family of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress. What Mann shares is both entertaining and eye-opening,” says one Joginder, a villager in Sunam who is among the many drawn to Mann’s satire. Many of them are seeing him in the flesh for the first time and even throw money at him.They lift their mobile phones to film him live. At the end of every address, Mann is nearly mobbed by fans.
SAD has accused him before the Election Commission of inciting voters to throw stones at the ruling party leaders, a charge he rubbishes. “I condemn such shoe-throwing and booing incidents by anyone,” he insists. Both SAD and Congress dub him a non-serious street satirist.