Ex-army chief, doctor to take on Amarinder

Ex-army chief, doctor to take on Amarinder
Both donned the olive green with pride, had keen interest in mountaineering, were sharpshooters and even fought Pakistan in war. But in Patiala, former army captain Amarinder Singh and retired army chief Gen J J Singh will fight each other. The twist, however, is that Aam Aadmi Party candidate Dr Balbir Singh, an eye surgeon, has made the contest triangular, a tough one for Amarinder, whose wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur is holding the bastion as he tours the state.

Just when the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) thought it could tie down J J Singh’s opponent in Patiala, Amarinder raised the stake by announcing his candidature against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the latter’s home turf in Lambi, besides J J Singh in Patiala. If seniority counts, Amarinder, who took premature retirement as a captain, is a year senior to Gen J J Singh.

A former Arunachal Pradesh Governor, it is J J Singh’s debut election, but he has crafted many wins in the past, including the one in Kargil in 1999, where he played a major role as a strategist.

The veteran soldier is banking on some of his former colleagues in the war room. But it’s not just back end strategies that he is counting on. He sets off each morning meeting people and walking miles exchanging notes, interacting with people, shaking hands and seeking votes.

However, there is resentment among a section of SAD leaders over the general’s ‘fauji’ style of communication. The former army chief says he is out there to win. He takes a dig at Amarinder calling him a “Maharaja who does not step out of his palace”.

J J Singh discounts Amarinder’s military credentials saying he only held comfortable position of an aide-de-camp in the army. Amarinder, on the other hand, retorts that J J Singh became the army chief due to his seniority and not because of his calibre. Many claim for Amarinder, J J Singh is no match and that AAP candidate Dr Singh is a more formidable opponent.

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