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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Busy fortifying Patiala, Captain has no time for Jassi

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, August 10, 2014
First Published: 22:17 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:16 IST(10/8/2014)

Notwithstanding that the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Partap Singh Bajwa, is camping at Talwandi Sabo for the bypoll campaign, the party’s candidate, Harminder Singh Jassi, has asked the high command to depute Amritsar MP and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh for his campaign too. But Amarinder, whose wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur is contesting his erstwhile seat, has no time to spare.

To resolve the issue of deputing leaders at both Patiala and Talwandi Sabo, the high command has reportedly asked both Amarinder and Bajwa to send a list of leaders they want to campaign at the respective seats.

Though Preneet, who recently lost the Lok Sabha election from Patiala, has never shown the intention to call Bajwa for her campaign, Jassi wants Amarinder to spend at least some time in his constituency, where he is facing Congressman-turned-SAD candidate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu and the AAP’s Baljinder Kaur.

Talking to HT, Amarinder simply said he had “no time for any other constituency”, as he had to campaign in Patiala, which had thrice elected him to the assembly. He resigned from the seat after being elected to the Lok Sabha in May.

“I am aware that both elections are important. But this seat (Patiala) is a prestige issue for me. It is my home town, my own constituency and my wife Preneet Kaur is contesting. I can’t spare time for any other area, as already I remained engaged in the Lok Sabha session and only 10 days are left in the campaign”, Amarinder told HT. He said he had made it clear to everyone even before candidates were announced “that I would spend time to ensure victory of the Congress at Patiala”. It is pertinent to mention that even before the PPCC president could depute leaders for campaign, Amarinder had assigned duties to his loyalists at Patiala.

Meanwhile, after a week’s absence due to the Lok Sabha session being on, Amarinder is back in the campaign. On Sunday, he met key functionaries managing the campaign.

To strike a chord with the voters, Amarinder also used the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and shared pleasantries with children at his New Moti Bagh Palace. In a rare gesture, he even sat on the floor for tying of rakhis.

It is learnt that in the meetings with workers and leaders, including campaign incharge and Fatehgarh Churian MLA Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, he asked him to depute more worker in the outer wards of the city to counter the SAD, which has fielded a Hindu urban face, Bhagwan Dass Juneja.

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