As a legal hawk, he knows how to tie his opponents in knots in court debates. Fighting his debut election from the highstakes seat of Amritsar, Arun Jaitley is doing just that with poll rival Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress. Jaitley starts his day by taking a fresh dig at the Captain in his campaign dairy forcing Amarinder to respond. Given the Captain’s tit-fortat style of oratory, Jaitley claims to have an edge, at least in the war of wits.
A bemused Jaitley seems to be enjoying poking his poll adversary. To all those who care to listen, Jaitley narrates a string of Amarinder’s “unhumorous” replies to prove that the Captain is at his wit’s end.
“The angry maharaja lacks humour and takes my jibes literally. Using sarcasm is part of political humour but Amarinder is too angry to catch the pun. He takes it all literally and reacts with words which are not just crude but also ‘unhumorous’,” Jaitley says.
As if enjoying the game now, Jaitley on Wednesday called Amarinder Humpty Dumpty. “Like Lewis Carol looking through the glass, tells Alice in Wonderland that I mean what I want it to mean, Amarinder is now telling that he did not give Congress leader Jagdish Tytler any clean chit in the 1984 antiSikh riots but only said what he heard while talking to the affected families. I am sure he will take my Humpty-Dumpty jibe literally and remind me of my kilos,” he chuckles.
Amarinder has responded to the jibe by saying, “I am pleasantly amused at Jaitely’s choice of books. Looking at his interests and inclination, I have stopped taking offence on what he says.”
With Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia as company, Jaitley has enough ammunition on the lifestyle of erstwhile Patiala royal. As the no-holds-barred campaign gets shriller, Jaitley has been taking potshots at Amarinder’s personal life, especially his friendship to Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam.
Responding to Amarinder’s “outsider” jibe, he blogged that going by his links to Amritsar, he is not one “unless it means downing a Patiala peg daily”. On issue of accessibility, Jaitley said Amarinder was at least accessible on the other side of the border.
On the Captain raking up the issue of his buying a house in Amritsar, Jaitley said Amarinder could buy one across the border. While Jaitley pats his back on outwitting Amarinder in responses, he seems to be relishing Amarinder’s reactions.
Called devil’s advocate by Jaitley on the issue of Amarinder giving a “clean chit” to Tytler, the Captain responded, “He is the devil and I am the advocate.” Jaitley then poked him as an “emperor without clothes”, waiting for Amarinder to come up with something “amusing”.
He quips that the “maharaja” seems to have told some newsmen that their wardrobes should be counted to find out the truth. Amarinder may not have said it, but Jaitley claims he knows what answer to expect.