Till weeks ago, the Punjab Congress hadn’t really sounded the poll bugle for the summer slugfest for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The party hardly looked ready for battle in this border state. But with the party fielding its heavyweight leaders, many of whom were shying away from taking the poll plunge till recently, their fortunes appear to be changing.
In other words the Congress is back in the fight. The contest in the holy city of Amritsar, between the BJP’s top strategist Arun Jaitley and the Congress’ Captain Amarinder Singh is going to be a hot one.
The state BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership worked overtime and lobbied hard to have Jaitley contest from Amritsar, even if it meant pushing three-time sitting MP and cricketer-turned-commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu into oblivion. In return, the Akalis pledged the highest ever margin for Jaitley. But Jaitley’s debut election from this “safe seat” no longer looks like smooth sailing for saffron party. Unlike in the Congress-ruled Haryana, opinion polls are predicting a tough contest in Punjab with an advantage to the SAD-BJP. The Congress has 8 out of the 13 seats Lok Sabha seats, and the remaining are with the SAD-BJP, now in its second term in the Assembly.|
Meanwhile, Amarinder has served a legal notice on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for his statements that his wife, outgoing Union minister Preneet Kaur, and son had foreign bank accounts.