A day after Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh termed Arun Jaitley an "outsider", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee for this Lok Sabha seat asked him to explain if his own party president was an insider.
"In spite of my roots in Punjab, Captain Sahib called me an outsider and a pseudo Punjabi. Will he be kind enough to tell me to which state in India does Sonia Gandhi belong?" Jaitley commented in a blog entry on Sunday, in indirect reference to the Italian origin of the United Progressive alliance chairperson, BJP's favourite issue.
The Congress candidate from Amritsar had still not come to the constituency, said the BJP leader. "Regrettably, he is resorting to his old USP (unique selling proposition) of lowering the standard of debate through personal and discourteous remarks. I have to resist the temptation of reciprocating in the same manner. However, a polite response is necessary," said Jaitley.
He further said his rival had sought to know if he would shift to Amrtisar after winning. "Sure, I will have both an office and a residential base in Amritsar; but will he ever be available to the constituency's people? He is inaccessible even to own party leaders. His palace doors are closed to the common man," said the BJP nominee.
The debutant Lok Sabha contestant tried to establish a local connect by saying that he had not only his roots but also political involvement in Amritsar. Amarinder had said on Saturday that Jaitley knew nothing about Punjab and challenged him to name the assembly segments in the Amritsar parliamentary constituency.
'No disrespect to senior leaders'
Maintaining that the BJP respected its senior leaders, regardless of anyone's getting a preferred ticket. "Candidature is a party decision and we all abide by it," said the BJP nominee, adding: "We all work in the real BJP and there is no fake BJP, as Jaswant Singh has alleged. Sitting Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu will also come to the constituency to campaign."