Lok Sabha Sabha Elections 2014: Congress raises bar for Amritsar, fields Amarinder against Jaitley

capt amarinder singh

Chandigarh/New Delhi, March 21: Raising the stakes for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, the Congress Friday announced that former chief minister Amarinder Singh will take on senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from the April 30 contest for the seat.

Amarinder’s name was included in the fifth list of candidates announced by the Congress in New Delhi Friday. The party announced 26 candidates including 21 from West Bengal, two from Punjab, two from Bihar and one from Maharashtra.

The party fielded former West Bengal unit chief Manas Bhuiyan from Ghatal.

The party shifted Purnmasi Ram to Valmiki Nagar in Bihar and replaced him at Gopalganj with Jyoti.

A surprise inclusion was name of party leader Ambika Soni for the Anandpur Sahib seat in Punjab.

Amarinder Singh had Thursday expressed his reluctance to contest the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat but had later added that he would contest if Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked him to. After she asked him to do so, Amarinder agreed, party insiders said.

Congress sources said that Amarinder’s declaration as party candidate was a signal from the leadership that the party would not succumb to public statements about reluctance to contest.

They said the party has also indicated that it intends to to field formidable candidates against senior BJP leaders including its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

They said party vice president Rahul Gandhi had signaled that leaders with appeal and strong connect among party workers should contest.

Congress activists and supporters went into celebration mode in Amritsar after Amarinder’s name was announced for the seat.

The announcement of Amarinder’s name will make Amritsar the most watched contest in Punjab as two heavyweight leaders fight it out.

Jaitley was named by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its candidate last week for the Amritsar seat. Sitting MP, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was overlooked by the BJP for the seat following serious differences between him and leaders of the Punjab BJP and alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal.

Sidhu had won the seat in 2004, 2007 (by-election) and 2009. In 2004, he had trounced seven-time Congress MP Raghunandan Lal Bhatia.

The Congress was finding it difficult to put up a strong leader from Amritsar against Jaitley. With Amarinder contesting now, things are unlikely to be easy for Jaitley, who is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and is contesting Lok Sabha poll for the first time.

Amarinder had been reluctant initially.

“Even if I contest and am elected as an MP from Amritsar, I will not be able to do justice with people there as compared to someone who would be local. Besides being an outsider, I don’t know Amritsar as much as someone from that area. I will not be able to spend required period of time there,” he had said Thursday.

Soni replaces sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, a grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh. Bittu’s name had been announced earlier in the first list of Congress candidates.

  • preeti

    I think, This decision of making Amarinder Singh stand against Arun Jaitley is completely correct because Amarinder singh is ready to fight the loksabha election. I’m sure he will defeat the Arun Jaitely in the Amritsar. And helps the congress party to come again in power.,.

  • Shweta

    When Congress has fielded former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, a reluctant candidate, against the BJP’s Arun Jaitley in Amritsar then again Congress proved itself as a resourcefully intelligent party.

  • Shakir

    Amarinder Singh is the local man of the Amritsar but people of the Amritsar knows very well Arun Jatiely is the Communal party’s candidate. And communal man is not going to do any think for the Amritsar.So we have to vote for the Local man Amarinder singh.,.

  • ravi

    Amarinder Singh is the Intelligent leader of the party and also he is the president of the All India Jat Maha Sabha.Always he has stand for the development of the nation and for the women right. So now again he is going to proof himself to win the loksabha election with maximum seat.,.

  • Umesh

    Amrinder Singh is fighting for secularism and development and jaitely is fighting for communalism and corruption. So people of the Amritsar will be going to vote for the Amrinder singh to win the loksabha election from the Amritsar.,.

  • Ashish bhatia

    Amrinder singh dont boose but he is very high.he will definately win wid a very gud margin.

  • Anuraj Pandey

    See loksabha candidates head to head http://www.knowyourcandidate.in

  • Naveen sharma

    Congress is full of corruption.So before vote to anyone we should have to think.