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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

'Unlike Jaitley, I haven’t shied away from polls'

Sukhdeep Kaur, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, March 23, 2014
First Published: 09:35 IST(23/3/2014) | Last Updated: 18:21 IST(23/3/2014)

Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday warmed up for the big fight against BJP heavyweight Arun Jaitley by making a no-holds-barred attack on his political rival and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal who had on Friday projected Jaitley as the future deputy prime minister at a rally at Attari.

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Talking to HT, Amarinder questioned Jaitley’s connect to Punjab. “As a politician, I think Jaitley is a good man. I do not know him personally but I have watched him on news channels. But he is jumping from one state to another all the time. To show his Punjab connect, he is now saying his nankas (mother’s family) is from Amritsar.

Does that make him a Punjabi? He knows nothing about Punjab and its people. Can he even name the nine assembly segments of Amritsar constituency? I have fought many elections unlike Jaitley, who has always preferred the safe bet of sitting in the Rajya Sabha. For me, Jaitley is just another candidate,” he said.

Asked about Badal announcing Jaitley as the future deputy prime minister, Amarinder said all Badal had done throughout his life was tell lies.

“He is a deceitful man who says things to suit the occasion. Who is Badal to declare Jaitley the future deputy PM? Ask him to show the BJP resolution announcing Jaitley as the deputy PM candidate. Badal is again eyeing just his own interests and that of his family. He is an old, pathetic man who is now also becoming senile,” said the Congress leader.

On Amritsar being a Sikhdominated seat, Amarinder said that he did not see it as a Sikh -versus-Hindu contest. “We are all Punjabis and that’s how we should see ourselves.” Now at pains to explain his initial reluctance to contest the elections, Amarinder said that he wanted to concentrate on the Patiala seat of his wife Preneet Kaur and canvass in the entire state.

“But now that I am in the fray too, I am going to give a hell of a fight. I am a soldier and love to take on challenges. Now that my sword is out, it will not go back till the battle is won.”

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