Punjab Congress Chief Captain Amarinder Singh Thursday dared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to contest in the Amritsar bypoll, saying that it would serve as a referendum on demonetisation. The bypoll was necessitated on the account of Amarinder Singh resigning from his Lok Sabha membership in protest against the Supreme Court order on the Sutlej Yamuna link canal issue. The Election Commission is yet to annouce dates for the bypoll.
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In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Singh won the Amritsar seat by a handsome margin of over 1 lakh votes over Jaitley, who finished second. Jaitley replaced cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as the BJP candidate from Amritsar, but failed to retain the seat despite support from alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal.
Sidhu recently resigned from the party despite being nominated to the Rajya Sabha and went on to form a political front — Awaaz-e-Punjab — with the Bains brothers to campaign against SAD. Sidhu, however, dissolved the front after the Bains brothers joined AAP. His wife Najvot Kaur Sidhu also resigned as the party’s MLA and joined Congress. Amarinder Singh said Sidhu would campaign from the Congress in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections, but did not spell out whether he would join the party.