Published: 17th March 2022
What The FAQ: Why Bhagwant Mann's rise through the political ranks is no laughing matter
The 17th Chief Minister of Punjab has a colourful history, to say the least. We take a look at his journey in the spotlight and why he decided to take oath at a remote village in Punjab
Punjab got a new Chief Minister this week as Bhagwant Mann took his oath of office on Wednesday, March 16, after a historic victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Assembly elections. It's probably uncanny that one of the rivals he defeated during these elections was a man who happened to be the judge of a comedy show he participated in almost 14 years ago. The world is indeed a small place. Today, we take a look at the incredible tale of Bhagwant Mann.
Who is Bhagwant Mann?
The 17th Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Singh Mann is a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. Born in the Sangrur district of Punjab, the 48-year-old has pursued BCom from Shaheed Udham Singh Government College of Sunam.
What did his career look like before he entered politics?
Mann has his roots in stand-up comedy, having won medals for his college from a young age. He digressed into acting as well, with his role in the National Award-winning Main Maa Punjab Dee being the pick of his work.
When did his path merge with Navjot Singh Sidhu first?
Before they were rivals for the post of the Chief Minister of Punjab, the two were contestant and judge at comedy show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge in 2008. While Sidhu was a popular judge at the show, Mann finished its first season at the fifth position.
When and how did his political career begin?
Mann's first foray into politics was with the People's Party of Punjab in 2011. As a member of this party, he ran for the Assembly elections in 2012 from Lehra constituency, although he ended up losing that race. He then joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and tasted victory in his first Lok Sabha elections from Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency in that year. He had been initially appointed convenor of the party's team in Punjab in 2017, and then again in 2019, when he also won the Lok Sabha seat from the Sangrur constituency for a second time.
And what about the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections?
It was by popular choice that the former comedian slash actor got the nomination for AAP's CM candidate for the state — a public poll revealed that a whopping 93 per cent of the people wanted Mann to be their Chief Minister. And after his landslide victory on March 10 from the Dhuri assembly constituency and on the back of the AAP winning an absolute majority in the elections, Mann was sworn in as the 17th chief minister of Punjab on March 16.
Where did he take oath as the CM and what was significant about it?
Mann decided to take his oath of office at a village called Khatkar Kalan, the birthplace of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Mann also announced that the martyr's photographs, along with that of Dr BR Ambedkar, will adorn the walls of government offices in the state, instead of the CM's.