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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received over 2.8 lakh responses within four hours of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal issuing a number where people could send the name of the Punjab chief ministerial candidate of their choice.

Kejriwal had earlier today announced that people can message and call on the number 70748 70748 by 17 January till 5 pm to send their suggestions on who should be the chief ministerial candidate from AAP for the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls.

"This is happening in India, probably for the first time after 1947 that a party is asking the public to tell us who should be the CM face. By calling, or through WhatsApp messaging on the number 70748 70748, you can give your suggestions by 5 pm on 17 January. Based on the suggestions, we will choose our CM candidate. My personal choice is not important. Public choice is important," he said at a press conference in Chandigarh.

Further, ruling himself out of the race, Kejriwal stated that his own preference for the post is Bhagwant Mann.

"Bhagwant Mann is very dear to me. He is like my younger brother. I was also sitting in the room saying that we should make Bhagwant Mann the Chief Ministerial candidate, but he said that no, we should ask people. This ritual of deciding the Chief Ministerial candidate in closed doors should be stopped," Kejriwal said.

"It is almost certain that AAP will come to power in Punjab. I want to request all my volunteers to give one last push. I want to request Punjab voters to give lots of votes. We should win more than 80 seats instead of 60 seats," he added.

The Delhi chief minister claimed that while it is clear that the AAP will form the next government in Punjab, the party is eyeing at least 80 Assembly seats, and appealed to "all our volunteers" as well as the voters "to give one final push" to achieve the target.

Asked about the names of the other leaders who are in the race for the top post besides Mann, he said let the people choose the candidate of their choice.

In June last year, Kejriwal had announced that the AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab will be from the Sikh community.

Polling for the assembly polls in Punjab is scheduled to be held on 14 February and the counting of votes will take place on 10 March. 

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