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‘Thodi Si Jo Pee Lee Hai’: Number of times Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann was caught allegedly drunk

While the Aam Aadmi Party has refuted the claims that Bhagwant Mann was not deplaned in Germany because of being in an inebriated state, there have been several instances in the past when Mann has been accused of being drunk.

You might have heard the popular song starring Amitabh Bachchan ‘Thodi Si Jo Pee Lee Hai’. The immortal song fits perfectly in the lives of many habitual drinkers who try their level best to stop drinking but often fail miserably. The most recent incident with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has raised speculations that he has failed to stick to the promise he made early this year that he would stay away from alcohol forever.

Recently, a report said that Mann was deplaned from a flight to India in Germany as he was drunk. AAP has refuted the claims, saying Mann was not deplaned for being drunk. Earlier, AAP had claimed he was deplaned due to bad health.

In January 2019, Bhagwant Mann had promised he would not drink anymore. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal called it a ‘great sacrifice for the people. By that time, Mann, MP from Sangrur, had faced much criticism over his drinking habits. Though the promise made by a leader was supposed to be fulfilled, things allegedly did not turn in his favour.

From time to time, CM Mann was reportedly caught drunk. After becoming Chief Minister of Punjab, reports have suggested he visited places, including Gurudwara, while being in an inebriated state.

Here is a list of incidents where CM Mann was caught allegedly drunk:-

In 2015, former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav alleged that Mann had attended Parliament sessions while being under the influence. In a statement, he said, “I discovered it first in July 2014 when AAP had a meeting of all its Lok Sabha candidates. Mann was sitting next to me and was smelling of alcohol. I mentioned it to Arvind Kejriwal, and he nodded. Around this time, I heard rumours that Mann was going to the Lok Sabha sessions drunk.”

In October of the same year, former Granthi of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, allegedly noticed that Mann was drunk. He was attending the bhog ceremony of the Faridkot firing victims. Mann was asked to leave the stage, and the incident caused the party embarrassment at the national level.

In 2016, AAP leader Harinder Singh Khalsa accused Mann of being drunk in the house. He wrote to then-Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and stated it was “torturous” to sit next to Mann, who “reeks of liquor.” Three more MPs wrote to a nine-member committee set up by Mahajan on the same issue in August 2016.

In July 2016, Mann live-streamed his trip to Parliament and published the video on Facebook. His actions triggered outrage from other house members as he breached security by shooting a video of the Parliament. It was alleged that Mann was drunk on that day and had leaked the Parliament security apparatus. Following the incident, then-Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked him not to attend the sittings of the House until a decision was taken on the matter.

Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Charanjit Singh Channi have accused Mann of being a drunkard. Former CM Singh had called him an alcohol addict in 2016, while former CM Channi accused him of being a drunkard before the Punjab Assembly elections in 2022.

In November 2016, Mann had allegedly turned up at the funeral of Manmeet Alisher in an inebriated condition. The family had asked Mann to leave the premises since he misbehaved with them and the journalists at the venue.

In 2018, Bhagwant Mann went to address an election rally at Gol Diggi in Bhatinda. When it was Mann’s turn to speak, Mann could not even stand. He was seen blowing flying kisses to the people before collapsing on the dais. He managed to get up somehow and, after blowing some more flying kisses, he started speaking.

In April 2022, The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) alleged that the Punjab chief minister and AAP leader Bhagwant Singh Mann had entered Takht Damdama Sahib in a drunk state on the occasion of Baisakhi, which was celebrated across the country on April 14. The organization has demanded an apology from the Punjab Chief Minister for the same. The SGPC is in charge of the management of Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh.

In a statement issued in Amritsar, SGPC senior vice president Raghujit Singh Virk stated that the chief minister visited a highly revered spiritual site of the Sikh community while under the influence of alcohol and “violated the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct).”

Though AAP has refuted the claims that Mann was deplaned in Germany as he was allegedly drunk, the reputation he carries from the past raised red flags in the minds of many. Maybe, someday, CM Mann would like to sing the famous song starring late Dilip Kumar “muje duniyaa waalon, sharaabee naa samajho… main peetaa nahin hoon, pilaai gayi hai.”

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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