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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Amarinder stays away from Amritsar constituency

Harkirat Singh, Hindustan Times   Amritsar, August 19, 2014
First Published: 23:30 IST(19/8/2014) | Last Updated: 07:34 IST(20/8/2014)

Have the people of Amritsar once again elected an MP who might not be easily accessible to them, as he has stayed away from the constituency for most of the last three months?

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Though it will not be fair at this stage to pass a judgment on Capt Amarinder Singh, his political opponents have already started drawing conclusions. After his win, the former chief minister is shown as present in Amritsar from June 25 to 27 when he returned to the constituency to thank the electorate for his comprehensive victory over the BJP's Arun Jaitley.

The common man here is used to his MP remaining away from the constituency for long. Former MP Navjot Sidhu would remain away from the constituency for longer periods when he was unhappy with the state government.

Naresh Johar, a local who closely follows local politics, feels an MP cannot do much without the support of the state government. "An MP at best can express his opposition to an issue. The actual development works have to be taken up by the state government and its ministers," he says, adding that in the case of Amritsar, civic amenities have gone from bad to worse in the past five years or so despite there being a BJP MP.

"Amarinder, owing to his stature, may not be able to stay in Amritsar for long, but he must undertake short trips to the constituency, as his voice on issues concerning the public cannot be ignored by the state government," Johar says, adding that people chose Amarinder despite being aware of his style of functioning.

 
Getting rid of outsider tag
During the poll campaign, both Amarinder and Jaitley fought over the outsider tag. Amarinder tried to prove that he was more of an Amritsar resident than Jaitley. He also bought a house at Green Avenue. Rumours are rife that Amarinder may also buy a house here.
 
'Stays in regular touch'
The MP keeps in touch with the constituency through a full-fledged office at Court Road, with adequate staff headed by close confidant Capt Sandeep Sandhu.

"Amarinder keeps in regular touch and follows each and every development here - whether it is regarding the killing of a man from Amritsar in the US or, cutting of trees or the kidnapping of a five-year-old boy, or the missing Punjabi youth in Iraq," says Sandhu.

He refers the issues related to harassment of Congress workers by police to Amarinder directly and the subsequent action taken.

Amarinder's media adviser Vimal Sumbly says the MP has been keeping a close tab on the state government's "so-called" drive against drugs, as one of the most affected areas is Amritsar.
 
MP speaks
Amarinder, who is currently busy canvassing for wife and Congress candidate Preneet Kaur for the Patiala bypoll, has promised to visit Amritsar more frequently.

"My presence in Amritsar in the first two months was low owing to the Parliament session and byelections, besides my appointment as the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. But I will ensure that I compensate for it in the months to come," he said.

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