If you want them to listen, speak their language. Congress’ Amritsar candidate and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is doing just that, as he makes the shift from Patiala in the heart of Malwa, to Amritsar, the centre of Majha.
While campaigning in his home town, the erstwhile ‘Maharaja of Patiala’ sounds rather contained in his speech, and he strikes a personal chord with Patialvis. At Amritsar, he has launched a no-holds-barred war of words with his rival, BJP’s senior leader Arun Jaitley.
“Majha is the core and the bravest region of Punjab. And Majhails love aggression … Thus, I am speaking their language to strike a chord,” Amarinder told HT. “I am among people who have bravery in their blood. There is this popular story that, in Majha, people don’t marry their daughters till they find that the groom and his family have three-four police cases.”
When asked about Jaitley also turning aggressive and personal by attacking him by calling a “monarch in democracy” and for “having a feudal mindset”, Amarinder said, “Jaitley is nervous, as he has realised that he has fallen into the trap of (SAD minister Bikram Singh) Majithia and (BJP minister Anil) Joshi, who asked him to contest from Amritsar by saying, ‘You file the nomination, and we will ensure your victory.’
Now that I am in the fray, Jaitley has finally got into a real fight. Not only will he lose the election but also his face along with those who invited him to contest.”
Continuing with his ‘outsider’ row with Jaitley, who has claimed Amritsar ancestry and family connection, Amarinder said, “In his nervousness, Jaitley tries to speak Punjabi. But what he speaks is neither Punjabi nor Hindi-mix English. Majhails are not interested in his speeches.”
The Captain is hoping also to gain from personal antiincumbency against Majithia, the firebrand brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, who has tried to match Amarinder word by word in aggression.
But Amarinder has found little match in aggression from Joshi, whom he has termed him corrupt and lambasted for colluding with the Akalis to oust his own mentor Navjot Singh Sidhu, the sitting MP who wasn’t given the ticket.
But state BJP president Kamal Sharma said Amarinder “thinks that he can look very aggressive by using harsh language, but is making a mistake”. He said, “The people of Punjab have already heard very much of him and shown him the door many times.
He must remember that his khoonda (remarks about using the ‘stick’ against Akalis) did a lot of damage to the Congress in 2007 and 2012 assembly elections.”
Sharma added, “Arun Jaitley is known for his statesmanship while Amarinder is known for all the wrong reasons. And the people of Majha are not only brave but also wise.”