Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh drew an euphoric response when he went to cast his vote at the Government College for Girls in Patiala (Urban) constituency on Saturday. The chief ministerial candidate of Congress is contesting from his bastion of Patiala (Urban) and from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency. He is taking on SAD’s Gen J J Singh (retd) and AAP’s ophthalmologist candidate Dr Balbir Singh in Patiala. As soon as he reached the polling station, the queued up voters gathered around him to greet him and shake hands with him. Lovedeep Kaur (26), a warden at the college hostel, was seen jumping with joy. “I got a hug from Captain sahib. I am so elated,” she was telling her friends, Navdeep Kaur and Gurmeet Kaur, NSS volunteers of the college, and asking the photographers for her picture with him. An elderly couple, Rajinder Kaur (79) and her husband Teja Singh (87), waited with roses for Amarinder to come out of the booth.
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“He is our neighbour. We want to greet him,” said Rajinder Kaur. Amarinder’s supporters did not disappoint the couple and took them to meet him.
Amarinder, who had reached the polling booth after taking blessings from his nonagenarian mother Mohinder Kaur, was accompanied by his family, including his wife Preneet Kaur, daughter Jaya Inder Kaur and his grandchildren Seher Inder Kaur and Nirvan Singh.
Afer casting his vote, Amarinder told The Indian Express, “Congress is making a clean sweep. We need 59 seats, but we will get more than 70. We are all geared up to implement our manifesto as soon as we take oath,” said Amarinder, who has announced it to be his last election.
Amarinder, the scion of Royal family of Patiala, is expecting favourable results on March 11, which also happens to be his 75th birthday. “I want to be the longest living man of my lineage. Our longest living ancestor Baba Ala Singh lived for 74 years and 11 months. I will complete 75 years on March 11. It is going to be a lucky day,” said Amarinder.
Later, in a statement, he dismissed any threat from either the Shiromani Akali (SAD), which he said had “ripped apart the state’s social, religious and economic fibre in the past 10 years”, or the Aam Admi Party (AAP), “whose popularity graph had shown a drastic decline in the past two-three years with the exposure of their misdeeds and failures”.
“The people of Punjab have not forgotten Badals’ attempts to polarise them on communal lines through the incidents of sacrilege,” said the PPCC president.
“Arvind Kejriwal’s party’s purported popularity was nothing more than a media creation. The party’s euphoric entry into Punjab during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was the result of the hype over its agitation in Delhi, which had found resonance in Punjab’s frustrated youth,” said Amarinder, adding that the hype had since faded and the party had lost its appeal completely.