Amarinder Singh has set the political temperature soaring after the Congress announced he would take on BJP heavyweight Arun Jaitley in Amritsar and the confident former Punjab chief minister who belongs to an erstwhile royal family says "we will fight them and beat them".
Amarinder, a former army officer, after his initial reluctance to contest the Lok Sabha elections this time, has come out all guns blazing against Jaitley and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Known for his political attitude of taking his opponents head-on, Amarinder has already started firing salvos at Jaitley and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
"Jaitley is an outsider in Amritsar. He is trying to create his Punjabi roots with Amritsar when there are none. He has no idea about the area," Amarinder pointed out, adding people from Amritsar were reaching out to him after his name was announced for the seat.
"We will fight BJP and Akali Dal and we will beat them. I have drawn out my sword and it won't go back till the battle is over," Amarinder told IANS in an interview here.
At a rally, Badal tried to woo the electorate saying, Jaitley would be the next deputy prime minister of the country.
"Badal is a known liar. He does not know what the inner thinking in the BJP is. Let him bring the BJP resolution stating that Jaitley will be the deputy PM. Badal says such things to whip up support," added Amarinder who was himself an Akali Dal leader for almost 10 years and is a bitter critic of Badal.
Having initially shown his reluctance to contest from Amritsar saying, he "won't be able to do justice to the constituency as a MP", Amarinder says he is all geared up for the big fight.
"I never said I will not contest. When Sonia Gandhi asked me if I would contest from Amritsar, I told her that my experience could be better utilised for campaigning across Punjab. But once the decision on fielding me was taken, I am all set for the fight," he said.
"I have been given full assurance by president and vice president of Congress party that the entire Congress leadership and resources will be behind me for this contest," said Amarinder.
Amarinder's wife, union minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur, is seeking re-election to the Patiala Lok Sabha seat on the Congress ticket.
This is for the first time that the couple is contesting at the same time.
All 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab go to the polls April 30.