In the hotly-contested Amritsar seat, the Congress and Akali-BJP are busy playing spy games. As much time, if not more, is going into monitoring the daily campaign schedule of each other by both the main rival camps as planning their own.
While it was BJP candidate Arun Jaitley who devised the "lose weight, win votes" formula by meeting Amritsaris by taking a morning walk on Sundays, Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh was quick to put on his walking shoes and the two fatefully met at the city’s sprawling Company Bagh the next Sunday.
The BJP camp is not far behind. Jaitley’s team is closely watching Amarinder’s every move and was quick to call up mediapersons to inform them that the Captain on Sunday cancelled his last public meeting at Ram Bagh area and reached late at Dharampur Kale village.
They also spilled the beans on Amarinder’s schedule for the next two days —that he was going out of the constituency for "personal reasons", including a wedding. They also have details on two earlier public meetings that the Congress nominee cancelled and the time he starts his day and campaigning.
Enough "misses" for Punjab BJP President Kamal Sharma to term Amarinder a non-serious candidate. "Amarinder has realised it is a losing proposition, so he is concentrating more on his family seat of Patiala being contested by wife Preneet Kaur.
Though he has been camping in Amritsar, his campaign has been non-serious. It is in his nature to be non-serious. He was non-serious as a chief minister, state Congress chief and even a familyman," Sharma said.
The Congress terms BJP’s "fixation" with Amarinder’s timings as "defeat-induced anxiety".
Punjab Congress Committee vice-president OP Soni, who had last time lost to sitting BJP MP Navjot Sidhu and is now managing Amarinder’s campaign, says the public meeting at Rambagh was not cancelled. "Amarinder was delayed at one of the other venues after addressing two-three public meetings in the city and three-four in the villages on Sunday.
Though he was running behind schedule and his brother Malvinder Singh had reached Dharampur Kale village, the second last venue for the day, Amarinder did not skip it. The BJP should worry more about their schedule than ours.
They (Akali-BJP) are working overtime as they are fearing defeat," Soni said.
On the Captain’s trip outside the constituency, Soni said the Amarinder is also needed in other seats for campaigning.
"This itself shows there is no anxiety in Congress about the poll outcome," he said.
The Congress also contends that Jaitley’s contest has confined the Akali-BJP top brass to Amritsar. But the Punjab BJP chief dismisses any anxiety related to the seat. "Amritsar is an important seat but we are not tied down to it. Since the last four days, I am campaigning in the 10 seats of Akali Dal in Punjab. It is Amarinder who is anxious to save at least one seat with the family," said Sharma.