Cong’s new young gun in toughest war | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Cong’s new young gun in toughest war

It has been a quick climb up the greasy pole of politics for Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the new president of Indian Youth Congress. But the gritty fighter, who takes his surname from his native village of Warring in Muktsar, did it with his dint of hard work, ambition, charisma, and some passionate oratory. Not to forget, the art of making the right friends at the right time.

chandigarh Updated: Jan 14, 2015 10:10 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur

It has been a quick climb up the greasy pole of politics for Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the new president of Indian Youth Congress. But the gritty fighter, who takes his surname from his native village of Warring in Muktsar, did it with his dint of hard work, ambition, charisma, and some passionate oratory. Not to forget, the art of making the right friends at the right time.


In a dynasty-ruled party that still places premium on blood lineage, the 37-year-old, first-time MLA from Gidderbaha has made it to the top rung of Youth Congress despite having no political pedigree. In that sense, he represents a refreshing change from the generational politics of Punjab and beyond.

Born in a landed Jat Sikh family in Muktsar, which has long been turf of former chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar and his kin, Amrinder had a king-size true to his nickname ‘Raja’. A tragedy struck when he was nine years old, leaving him without parents. Raised by his maternal family, he says, “Right from getting married to building my own house, I have walked a lonely path.”

But the politician in him always knew how to put up a show. He delivered emphatic speeches and put up an impressive cavalcade of cars when one of his friends, Aman Sidhu, contested the elections of DAV College in Chandigarh and was elected its president in 1999.

Brar and beyond

Back home in Muktsar, he became a protégé of former Congress leader Jagmeet Brar who was then MP from Faridkot. Brar used to call him “sohna munda” (handsome young man) and groomed him in politics. But there seems to be no love lost between Warring and his once mentor now, something his detractors dub as a Warring trademark — he dumps old political godfathers after finding new, more powerful ones.

His longtime friends say it was former IYC president Randeep Singh Surjewala who helped Warring gain a foothold in youth wing politics. Appointed YC block chief in Muktsar in 2000, Warring went on to become its district president in 2002. He was appointed IYC national spokesman in 2005.

Rahul’s eye

His next big leap came in 2008, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi made Punjab the grounds for experimenting with Youth Congress elections. Warring could not match the enviable legacy of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu, who was elected president; but he trounced scions hailing from heavyweight political families of Congress to become the vice-president. Having been discovered by Rahul, he worked his way up within a year, and was appointed Indian Youth Congress general secretary in 2009.

But his ambition lay far beyond. He started working towards bagging a nomination for the 2012 assembly polls. He won the confidence of ex-CM Capt Amarinder Singh, who was chairman of the campaign committee. Though he was eyeing Muktsar, Warring bagged the ticket from Gidderbaha where the Congress had many contenders for the candidature, including his maternal uncle. Rahul pitched for young candidates and Warring met the criteria.

Big win, worthy image

His moment of reckoning came when he breached the long-held fortress of the the Badal clan and won Gidderbaha, defeating CM Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew and four-time MLA from the seat, Manpreet Badal. He gained from a split in Akali votes between Manpreet and Congress rebel-turned-SAD contender Sant Brar.

With an uncanny knack for headline-grabbing stunts, he made his presence felt both inside and outside the assembly. Be it storming a sangat darshan programme of the CM in his constituency or climbing over shoulders of the ward-and-watch staff in the Vidhan Sabha and punching marshals during a free-for-all by the Congress in December 2012, he never failed to make news. In his constituency, where every Congress family has a story of “atrocity” by the Badals to tell, he is known for “taming” the Akalis. He is also media-savvy and accessible, a leader who does not miss weddings or funerals.

Even avowed opponents have compliments for him. “He has the acumen, speaks well, and is very active. He took up the cause of his party workers in his constituency; in the assembly too, he faces the government head on. I rate him among the better MLAs in Punjab and a worthy opponent,” says Manpreet Badal.

Up ahead

But his nomination as IYC chief comes at a time when the stock of the Congress is down after its worst ever performance in the parliamentary polls. In Punjab, the party is facing intense factionalism, and Warring faces an unenviable task of balancing his loyalty between Amarinder and state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa.

His biggest test, however, is in galvanising the IYC which forms an important piece in Rahul Gandhi’s comeback strategy. For Warring ,who took over the reins last week by holding a protest march to the BJP headquarters in Delhi, the new job presents both an opportunity and a challenge. For now, he is gung-ho: “I have always faced challenges in my life. I see them as a way to prove myself.”


Chandigarh: It has been a quick climb up the greasy pole of politics for Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, the new president of Indian Youth Congress. But the gritty fighter, who takes his surname from his native village of Warring in Muktsar, did it with his dint of hard work, ambition, charisma, and some passionate oratory. Not to forget, the art of making the right friends at the right time.


In a dynasty-ruled party that still places premium on blood lineage, the 37-year-old, first-time MLA from Gidderbaha has made it to the top rung of Youth Congress despite having no political pedigree. In that sense, he represents a refreshing change from the generational politics of Punjab and beyond.

Born in a landed Jat Sikh family in Muktsar, which has long been turf of former chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar and his kin, Amrinder had a king-size true to his nickname ‘Raja’. A tragedy struck when he was nine years old, leaving him without parents. Raised by his maternal family, he says, “Right from getting married to building my own house, I have walked a lonely path.”

But the politician in him always knew how to put up a show. He delivered emphatic speeches and put up an impressive cavalcade of cars when one of his friends, Aman Sidhu, contested the elections of DAV College in Chandigarh and was elected its president in 1999.