Amritsar welcomes Amarinder

Captain Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on Friday. (Rana Simranjit Singh) Captain Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on Friday. (Rana Simranjit Singh)

Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh reached Amritsar to a rousing reception on Friday by party leaders and enthusiastic party workers who turned up in huge numbers to greet the former CM.

Amarinder, a reluctant entrant in the poll battle, is locked in what looks like a clash of titans with BJP candidate Arun Jaitley contesting his first Lok Sabha elections. Jaitley has replaced former cricketer and three-time party MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Flowers were showered and enthusiastic workers danced to the beat of drums and music as it took Amarinder — standing atop a vehicle flanked by Congress leaders representing Majha, Doaba and Malwa regions — nearly three hours to cover a distance of about 6 km from Amritsar-Jalandhar road to the Golden Temple.

On display during the road show was the unity of Congress leaders, missing in the recent past. Known rivals — Congress vice-president O P Soni and his bête noire Sukh Sarkaria, another Congress heavyweight — were seen together alongside Amarinder.

Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha Sunil Jakhar, who is contesting from Ferozepur, accompanied Amarinder. With several leaders jostling for space, Jakhar was seen struggling to get on to the vehicle bedecked with party flags and flowers after Amarinder boarded it.

Buoyed by the enthusiasm of the workers, Amarinder caught the garlands thrown at him. And amid all this, Amarinder remained fully attentive as he responded to greetings from former minister Surinder Singla, who was on the road, but was to come on board when asked.

Amarinder was welcomed at different points on the way to the Golden Temple. Talking to reporters after paying obeisance, Amarinder Singh said Jaitley was “no challenge” to him.