Chandigarh/New Delhi: The AAP on Tuesday said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal won't be the Punjab Chief Minister, hours after a remark by AAP leader Manish Sisodia asking people to vote for the party "thinking Kejriwal is the Chief Minister" drew widespread flak.
The Aam Aadmi Party leadership came in for sharp criticism from the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Congress and the BJP for the "secret wish" of Kejriwal to head Punjab if the AAP is voted to power.
Kejriwal is the party's face in Punjab and this doesn't mean he will be its Chief Minister if the AAP wins, the party said.
AAP leader Atishi Marlena told CNN that Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia's remarks on Kejriwal being the CM face in Punjab were twisted out of context.
"He (Sisodia) said vote as if Kejriwal is going to be the CM. He did not say Kejriwal will be the Chief Minister. He is the face of AAP and that is the face the people of Punjab are looking at," Marlena said.
"Kejriwal represents AAP. He represents credibility because he fulfilled several promises in Delhi. He is bringing that credibility to Punjab saying all promises made to the people of Punjab will be fulfilled," she said.
"This is not same as saying that he will be the CM there."
She added that Kejriwal was the Chief Minister of Delhi and was committed to the people of the national capital.
"You should vote thinking that you are voting to make Kejriwal as the Chief Minister (of Punjab). Your vote is for Kejriwal," Sisodia told a gathering in Mohali, adjoining Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
"People have been asking me who will be the Punjab Chief Minister (if AAP is voted to power). I have said that they should believe that Kejriwal is going to be Punjab's CM," Sisodia remarked.
Sisodia said: "No matter who becomes the Chief Minister of Punjab, it will be the responsibility of Kejriwal to get all the promises honoured. I give you the guarantee for this."
The Akali Dal immediately lashed out at the AAP saying that projecting Kejriwal as Chief Minister "was an insult to the entire Punjab leadership of AAP".
Akali Dal secretary Daljit Singh Cheema said that "this announcement has unmasked the lust and hunger of Kejriwal".
He said that by projecting Kejriwal as the face of the AAP in Punjab, the party leadership has accepted that none of its state leaders was worth projecting as a face for the post of Chief Minister.
"This action of Kejriwal also amounts to betrayal with the people of Delhi. After miserably failing to perform as per the expectations of the people of the national capital, Kejriwal has decided to run away from his responsibility," said Cheema, Punjab's Education Minister.
Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that the statement by Sisodia had exposed the "secret wish of Kejriwal".
Sirsa questioned the AAP for not announcing the name of its Punjab Chief Ministerial candidate when it had announced its Goa Chief Minister's face.
"Kejriwal has finally exposed his obsessive and abominable lust for Punjab's Chief Ministerial position," Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh said.
He blasted the AAP leader "for misleading the people of the state with his shameful lies to the contrary".
Amarinder said Kejriwal had been exposed by Sisodia's statement.
"The Congress had all along been maintaining that he had Kejriwal was eyeing the top post in Punjab if his party came to power in Punjab."
The BJP too criticized the AAP, saying the party's "real face had been exposed".
Punjab BJP President and union minister Vijay Sampla said Kejriwal and his gang wanted to take control of Punjab.