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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

After Jaitley's defeat, Joshi quits cabinet

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  AMRITSAR, May 16, 2014
First Published: 23:39 IST(16/5/2014) | Last Updated: 23:41 IST(16/5/2014)

Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi resigned from the cabinet "on moral grounds" after BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley suffered a defeat at the hands of Congress candidate and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

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He submitted his resignation to state BJP chief Kamal Sharma with the request that it be forwarded to the chief minister.

Confirming this to HT, Joshi said, "I have resigned as a minister on moral grounds. We had raised the demand for Jaitley's candidature from Amritsar. Now, since he has lost, I have decided to quit."

"Our intention was clear. We wanted Jaitley as the party candidate from Amritsar because such a leader could have been the game-changer for Punjab. Jaitley would have contributed in big way, be it in the sectors of industry, infrastructure or cross-border trade. But it seemed people had different ideas," said Joshi.

When asked why Jaitley lost so badly, Joshi said, "I would comment only after we thoroughly analyse the results. We did make efforts as far as development is concerned, but people did not trust us."

Joshi, who had differences with previous Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, had been the first party leader to raise the demand for Jaitley's candidature.

Jaitley trailed by around 20,000 votes in Joshi's own constituency, Amritsar (North).

Not only Joshi, even chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was instrumental in getting Jaitley to contest from Amritsar. But as soon as Amarinder entered the fray, things changed dramatically.

Jaitley's defeat from the high-stakes seat has come as a major embarrassment to the SAD-BJP combine.

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