Sticking to the line that his rival candidate for this Lok Sabha seat, Arun Jaitley, was a pseudo Punjabi, Congress nominee Captain Amarinder Singh has regretted the saffron leader dragged Congress president Sonia Gandhi into the "outsider" argument.
On Sunday, in a campaign-diary entry on his blog, Jaitley had sought to know from Amarinder the state to which Sonia belonged. "It was unbecoming of a leader of the stature of Jaitely to drag Sonia Gandhi into an argument where he finds himself defenceless. I always thought Jaitely was a gentleman but I am sorry to read his shameless question about the statehood of the Congress chief, who has nothing to do with what I said yesterday in a newspaper interview about him," the former Punjab chief minister said in reply.
In a press release issued here, Amarinder said it was obvious who had lowered the standard of debate. "Jaitley understands that he is losing badly," said the Congress candidate, seeking to remind his rival of the Indian tradition of accepting the daughters-in-law and not the daughters as real inheritors of the house, irrespective of the place from they come.
"Sonia Gandhi married Rajiv Gandhi 45 years ago, and she (since) belongs to Uttar Pradesh and India obviously," said Amarinder. "Every time you (the BJP) rake up this issue, you lose badly, as the country's people have rejected your chauvinistic and xenophobic rabble rousing repeatedly," he remarked.
Maintaining that Jaitely's newfound love for his "Punjabi roots" was sheer opportunism, Amarinder asked him why he had not entered Parliament through Punjab. "When did he last visit Punjab, leave aside contest an election from the state?" asked the former CM.
Replying to Jaitely's charges of inaccessibility, Amarinder told him: "You must have got the answer by now after the announcement of my candidature from here (Amritsar)." He was referring to the continuous celebrations in and around Amritsar since his receiving the ticket.
"I don't want to say whose accessibility should be questioned," Amarinder said, "a man who is in electoral politics for the last 45 years or the one who has always taken backdoor entry to the legislature."
"For Jaitley's information", he added: "My political office in New Moti Bagh Palace (Patiala) remains open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. Jaitley is welcome to visit anytime for a coffee with me."