Capt Amarinder Singh: The former chief minister made it big when he toppled the BJP big gun Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha elections. Amarinder, who was initially reluctant to contest as he wanted to focus on the state politics, defeated BJP stalwart Jaitley by a margin over 1 lakh votes. Amarinder's victory gave the Congress a big boost in Punjab even as the party fared badly in the elections at the national time.
Navjot Singh Sidhu: The three-time BJP MP from Amritsar got a shock when he was denied party ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Though he did not rebel against the party, he made his annoyance known by not campaigning for party candidate Arun Jaitley.
As Sidhu was reportedly denied ticket at the behest of the Badals, the former India opener started attacking them. Sidhu became the biggest newsmaker in Punjab BJP as he missed no opportunity to target the Badals. So much so that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had to complain about Sidhu's diatribe to the BJP high command.
During this onslaught against Badals, Sidhu was also accused of distorting 'gurbani' and was attacked by a mob in Jammu. He even had to send an apology to the Akal Takht later.
Arun Jaitley: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley hit the headlines when he opted to enter the electoral politics and chose Amritsar as his constituency. The top leader of the BJP got a severe drubbing by his Congress rival Capt Amarinder Singh. For Jaitley's election campaign, several BJP leaders, film stars and sports personalities reached the holy city.
Bikram Majithia: Punjab revenue minister and two-time MLA from Majitha constituency in Amritsar district made headlines after his name emerged in the drug controversy. The minister was even summoned by the Jalandhar-based office of the Enforcement Directorate recently. The minister was also accused of distorting Gurbani while campaigning for BJP candidate Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha polls.
Anil Joshi: Local bodies minister and two-time MLA from Amritsar (North) constituency remained in news throughout the year for court cases against him, especially the dual vote case. Besides, he was also on target of the local Akali leaders and councillors who accused him of being 'minister of Amritsar (North) constituency'.
Advocates Vaneet Mahajan and Sandeep Gorsi: The two advocates, who dragged Punjab revenue Minister Anil Joshi into the court in dual vote case, have been in the news throughout the year. Advocate Mahajan was brutally beaten up in May this year after which he had accused Joshi of being behind the attack. Both advocates had captured headlines repeatedly.
Avtar Singh Makkar: SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar was in the news for mobilising the SGPC officials and staff when the gurdwara committee's tussle started with Haryana over the setting up of a separate management committee for historic gurdwaras in Haryana. Makkar also got appreciation when the SGPC contributed enormously to provide relief material to the flood-hit Kashmir.
Kapil Sharma: Stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma, who hails from Amritsar, touched new heights of success through his popular show 'Comedy Nights with Kapil'. He was honoured by the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy. This year, Kapil also signed his first Bollywood project with director duo Abbas-Mustan. Surpassing all comedy shows, Kapil captured the Indian television audience through his unmatchable talent. Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi nominated his name for his ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.}
Navjeet Kaur Dhillon: Athlete Navjeet Dhillon, a student of Khalsa College for Women, bagged a bronze medal in the World Junior Championship, held at Eugene, US. Navjeet recorded 56.36 m discus throw in the world event to bag the honour for India. In 2014, she also won silver in discus throw and bronze in shot put in the Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2014 (U-20) in Taipei. She is trained by her father Jaspal Singh who is also her coach. She had earlier shown her talent at the Guru Nanak Dev University annual athletics meet by winning the gold medal in shot put.
Khushbir Kaur: A 21-year-old athlete who made the nation proud by becoming the first Indian woman to clinch a silver medal in 20-km race walk in the Asian Games 2014. Khushbir set a national record by clocking 1:33:07 at the Asian Games and improved upon her previous best performance of 1:33:37, which was also a national record set in Japan in walking championship. Khushbir is an MA student at Khalsa College for Women, who is now aiming at a gold medal in 2016 Rio Olympics.
Arpinder Singh : A 22-year old Arpinder Singh, who comes from Harsha Chhina village in Amritsar district, bagged bronze medal in the triple jump event in the 2014 commonwealth games in Glasgow. He also broke the national record in men's triple jump with a jump of 17.17 m in the national senior athletics championships in June 2014.
Mehak Gupta: Mehak, who had earlier received National Child Award for exceptional achievement from the President in 2012, made a speed record in inline skating this year and entered intothe Limca Book of Records. This eleven-year-old girl features in the fastest inline skating category. The wonder child started rolling when she was just six months over 2 and by the age of 10, she had won more than 100 medals, including the national gold. In 2014, her name also entered into the Elite World Records. She was honoured on the Children's Day by an NGO as 'Star of Amritsar'.
Lakhwinder Wadali: The young Sufi Singer was honoured by the Sangeet Natak Akademi this year with 'Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for 2012' for his outstanding contribution to Punjabi folk music. Lakhwinder Wadali, son of Padma Shri award recipient Puran Chand Wadali and nephew of Ustad Pyare Lal Wadali, popularly known as the Wadali Brothers, has contributed immensely to Punjabi music industry. 'Naina De Buhe', 'Je Aap Nachave Yaar', 'Charkha' and 'Jugni' are some of the famous songs of Lakhwinder.
Hargun: A teenage girl from Amritsar grabbed a big opportunity of popular TV reality show 'India's got talent: Season 5' where she made a mark by reaching the grand finale. She was among the ten finalists in the show, but the only finalist in the music category. Having won the Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan (senior category) in semi-classical music, she was called to perform at the same event this year where Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan also performed. In 2014, Hargun was called for performing at IAA Leadership Awards on Colors channel where personalities from the TV world and film fraternity like Sharukh Khan and Anil Kapoor were present. She was also awarded at the HT Youth Forum Award - 2014 .
Sunita Babu: In recognition of her constant endeavour and valuable contribution in the field of education, Sunita Babu was selected by the government of India after rigorous scrutiny for the coveted National Award for teachers for 2013. Sunita Babu is a CBSE teacher principal from Punjab who has been selected for this award. The award ceremony was held on September 5 in New Delhi.
HIGHS AND LOWS
Garbage mess: The holy city, which attracts a large number of tourists from all over the country and the world, witnessed a big low on the civic front this year. The government claims over developing Amritsar as a world-class city fell flat as it even failed to resolve the garbage issue in the city. Worse still, the SAD-BJP leaders played politics over the garbage issue rather than making serious attempts to find out its solution even as the people and the city continued to suffer.
Wagah Blast: The high-intensity bomb blast that killed over 60 Pakistani nationals occurred across the border, but it rattled the Indian side of the border too. It not only scared people, but also put the security agencies on toes. It was a major low as the terrorism reached the place where people from both nations assemble every evening to watch the Beating the Retreat ceremony.
Golden Temple clash: On June 6, the Golden Temple witnessed a violent clash between SGPC task force and supporters of the SAD (Amritsar) on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar. Swords were used in the premises of the Akal Takht and over a dozen persons were injured in this clash.
Botched eye surgeries: In a rather unfortunate development, several senior citizens hailing from villages near Ajnala lost vision in the wake of eye surgeries conducted during a medical camp in the neighbouring Gurdaspur district. The most of the patients were in their seventies who later narrated their tales as to how they went for cataract operations to have a better vision and came back from the camp with lost vision.
Iraq hostages: Many of the 40 Punjabis which went missing in Iraq belong to belong to the Amritsar district, especially Majitha area. The families of these missing youths met Union minister Sushma Swaraj six times and also raised the issue with the Punjab government repeatedly. Even six months after these Punjabis were taken hostage by extremists, their families are still waiting for a word about their well being.
SAD-BJP tussle: Withn the souring relations between the alliance partners, the SAD and the BJP, it was the city of Amritsar that witnessed the tussle the most. Leaders from both the parties missed no chance to have a go at each other. Accusations and counter-accusations between them highlighted the cracks in the alliance. The SAD and the BJP locked horns during the general house meeting of the municipal corporation and exchanged barbs.
Partial completion of Golden Temple Plaza: This was one good news for the city as well as thousands of pilgrims reaching the Golden Temple. The year 2014 saw the completion of the first phase of the Plaza outside the Golden Temple. The Plaza adds to the beauty of the area outside the shrine and place for pilgrims to sit. The basement work of this project is still on and is expected to be completed this year.
Cracker of a contest: Amritsar witnessed a cracker of a contest in the Lok Sabha elections as it was Congress' surprise candidate Capt Amarinder Singh versus the BJP big gun Arun Jaitley. All eyes were on this constituency, which witnessed a number of star campaigners making a beeline to the city to add spice to the election campaign.
IIM for Amritsar: BJP leader Arun Jaitley may have lost the election from Amritsar, but he kept the city in mind while reading out the Budget speech. Jaitley announced that an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will be set up in the Amritsar district. The district administration has already shortlisted a few places where the institute can come up. The final word from the Centre is awaited.
BRTS project kicks off: After the much-hyped Pods project in Amritsar was dumped, good news came in for city transport system as the construction work of modern Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) kicked off. The project, which will see buses running on dedicated and elevated paths, will definitely add to the convenience of local residents, once it is operational.
Smart City Project: The holy city also got a boost when it was included in the Smart City project by the central government. Looking at the pathetic civic conditions, this project may be a game changer. This announcement was also made by Jaitley during the budget.
Kitchlew Chowk flyover: The city residents got a respite from the traffic chaos when the Kitchlew Chowk flyover was finally completed in 2014. This not only reduced the pressure on roads around the Chowk, but also ensured a smooth drive for those travelling towards the Airport road.