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Need to win all 13 LS seats to make Punjab vibrant, says AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal

Mohali (Pb), Mar 11 (PTI) AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Monday launched his party's campaign in Punjab for the upcoming general elections and accused the BJP of trying to topple the Bhagwant Mann government by approaching its MLAs.

Mohali (Pb), Mar 11 (PTI) AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Monday launched his party's campaign in Punjab for the upcoming general elections and accused the BJP of trying to topple the Bhagwant Mann government by approaching its MLAs.

He asked people to ensure his party's victory in all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab to raise their voices in Parliament. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a constituent of the INDIA bloc, is fighting the Lok Sabha elections alone in Punjab.

At the event, the AAP also rolled out a slogan highlighting the leadership of Chief Minister Mann and saying that the party's presence in Parliament too would add to the respect Punjab enjoys. 'Sansad vich vee Bhagwant Mann, khushaal Punjab de vadhegi shaan,' the slogan reads.

'Today we are launching our campaign with this slogan,' Kejriwal said.

Seeking victory for AAP on all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state, he said, 'We do not need these seats for ourselves. (These are) to work more for your family and to make your family more prosperous. To make Punjab 'Rangla' (vibrant), we need 13 seats,' the Delhi chief minister added.

'If you send AAP's 13 (candidates) as MPs, they will raise your voice in Lok Sabha. If your work is stopped like the rural development fund is withheld, they will go to the residence of that minister concerned and will not budge till the funds are released. An MP can go to the residence of any minister.' Apart from 13 MPs from Punjab, four will come from Delhi and one from Kurukshetra in Haryana, the AAP national convener said, adding, 'We are winning in Gujarat and Assam.' 'Then we will have 20 MPs in Lok Sabha and 10 (currently) in Rajya Sabha. If we have 30 MPs, they will become our strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,' Kejriwal said.

The AAP and the Congress have sealed a seat-sharing deal for Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Gujarat, Goa and Haryana but decided to contest separately in Punjab considering the 'special circumstances' in the state. The AAP has already announced three candidates for Assam.

Addressing the event, Kejriwal slammed the Centre for allegedly withholding Rs 8,000 crore of Punjab's funds and accused the BJP of trying to topple the AAP government in the state by approaching its MLAs.

'The Centre has withheld Rs 8,000 crore of Punjab's funds. It is a lot of money. How many schools, hospitals, mohalla clinics could have come up with that fund?' he posed.

Kejriwal hit out at the Centre for rejecting Punjab's tableau at the Republic Day parade. 'How could they reject it?' 'Now they approach MLAs every day in Punjab to topple the state government. They want to topple the government of the people of Punjab,' he claimed.

Kejriwal also accused the Centre and the Punjab governor of harassing Chief Minister Mann every day.

'Only Bhagwant Mann is fighting for you. He is fighting against the Centre, the BJP and the governor. If you give him 13 seats, it will become his 13 hands and will fight against the BJP in Delhi. They will raise your voice in Lok Sabha,' said the Delhi CM.

Kejriwal questioned the 'silence' of the MPs of different parties over the Centre allegedly withholding the state's funds and rejecting its Republic Day tableau.

'When the Centre withheld Punjab's Rs 8,000 crore funds then where were these MPs? Only Jalandhar (AAP) MP raised voice in Lok Sabha. Where are the rest of the 12 MPs? Why did they not fight for Punjab? When Punjab's tableau was rejected then where were these MPs? They never raised the voice of the people of Punjab,' he alleged.

Kejriwal said there was a time when there was negativity all around in Punjab and there was a law and order problem. 'Electricity bills were going up, there were electricity outages, farmers and traders were upset,' Kejriwal said.

'Today, there is positivity all around. Industrialists are returning, they want to open industries here. Youths are getting jobs, Mohalla clinics are coming up', he said, adding, 'But a lot is yet to be done.' 'Elections are coming. There are 13 seats in Punjab and we need all these seats,' the AAP national convener added. PTI CHS VSD NSD NSD

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