Kejriwal defends Mann in ‘drunk on flight’ row

Kejriwal defends Mann in ‘drunk on flight’ row

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday defended Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann amid a raging controversy that he was deplaned from a Lufthansa aircraft in a “drunken” state, saying the opposition was trying to spread lies as they cannot find a fault in the latter’s work.

“What Mann Saheb has done in the last six months, no government in Punjab has done in the last 75 years. After 75 years, Punjab has got a ‘kattar’ honest and hard-working chief minister,” Kejriwal told reporters in Vadodara in poll-bound Gujarat.

“All this is a lie, all nonsense. The opposition is trying to stop Mann but people are watching. They are happy with his work,” he added.

A political controversy has broken out over whether Mann was inebriated to the extent that he was deboarded from a Lufthansa flight on Saturday night.

With eyewitness reports suggesting this surfacing, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday urged the Union government to step in and take up the matter with the German government.

The Congress’s Sukhpal Singh Khaira too sought clarification on why Mann was deplaned and demanded a public apology from the chief minister for “humiliating Punjab”.

The opposition’s attack came even as a Punjab government official confirmed that Mann did not board the flight as per schedule. AAP’s director of media communications Chander Suta Dogra insisted Mann was a “little unwell” and chose to take a later flight.

Meanwhile, Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said he will look into the allegation against Mann.

“This was an incident on international soil. We will have to make sure that we verify the facts. It is up to the Lufthansa airline to provide the data,” Scindia told reporters in Delhi.

“Based on the request that has been sent to me, I will certainly look into it,” he added.

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