Bowing to the “order” of Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday agreed to run for the Lok Sabha from Amritsar and take on senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, setting the stage for what is expected to be a keen contest.
Amarinder had been reluctant to contest saying his wife, Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, needed him for campaigning there. He had also opposed an earlier proposal by Punjab Congress chief Partap Bajwa to field him from Bathinda.
“I got a call from the party president half-an-hour ago. She asked me to contest from Amritsar as the party needed me there. I agreed immediately. I had said yesterday that I would not ignore the orders of the party president. Hence, I stand by my word and commitment to the party,” Amarinder told The Indian Express.
“I know it will be a problem for Preneet and me to contest two seats but I will handle the Amritsar constituency and ask my trusted colleague Sukh Sarkaria to handle her campaign in Patiala,” Amarinder said.
Sources said Preneet Kaur had sent urgent messages to Sonia, requesting her not to nominate Amarinder from Amritsar saying she, a three-time MP from Patiala, was facing anti-incumbency and needed her husband to campaign for her.
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Amarinder is the MLA from Patiala and was chief minister from 2002 to 2007.