Even as the big guns of the Congress and BJP are yet to hit the campaign trail in this high-profile constituency, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has already made half-adozen rounds to Amritsar, while revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia is tied down to this battleground between BJP candidate Arun Jaitley and his Congress rival Capt Amarinder Singh.
State BJP chief Kamal Sharma is also spending most of his time here to strategise the alliance’s campaign for one of the toughest electoral contests in the state.
As soon as the candidature of Jaitley was announced for Amritsar, SAD-BJP leaders were talking of ensuring his victory with the highest margin in Punjab and handing out a heavy drubbing to his Congress rival.
The scenario changed after the Congress high command fielded former CM Amarinder from this seat, which the SADBJP thought would be a cakewalk for their candidate.
Since it were the Badals who had convinced Jaitley to contest from Amritsar instead of sitting MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, the contest has become a prestige issue for the SAD leadership. The Badals are not only making all-out efforts to ensure Jaitley’s victory but they will also like to teach a lesson to Amarinder.
Badal has addressed rallies in Attari, Majitha, Ajnala and Rajasansi assembly segments. The CM has also addressed some rallies in the urban segments to shore up support for Jaitley.
Morever, Badal is also reaching out to almost all ‘rebel’ or ‘sidelined’ Akali leaders. He made it a point to call on rebel leader Gurpartap Singh Tikka and former MLA Manjinder Singh Kang to woo them back into the party fold.
Majithia, who re presents Majitha assembly constituency, is hardly taking a day off from his campaign for Jaitley. Though his sister Harsimrat Badal is pitted against Congress candidate Manpreet Badal from Bathinda, Majithia has paid only two visits to that constituency to campaign for her.
Interestingly, the last time Majithia visited Bathinda, the CM had reportedly asked him, “Kaka ji, tusi ethe ki kar rahe ho? (What are you doing here?)”. As per SAD sources, the CM has categorically told Majithia to put stay Amritsar.
Majithia’s day starts early these days and he is seen visiting villages all over his constituency to ensure an impressive lead from the segment.
The minister also stays most of the time on the steering wheel while travelling with Jaitley and also arranges various functions in urban segments as well.
Notably, in the adjoining Khadoor Sahib and Gurdaspur constituencies, Badal has not made too many rounds for campaigning.