NEW DELHI (TIP): The Congress hunt for a strong candidate for the Amritsar seat is likely to stop at senior leader OP Soni with former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh learnt to have expressed a desire to canvass for the party rather than contest.
Though Amarinder on March 20 said he would abide by whatever Congress president Sonia Gandhi decided for him, there were indications that he was more interested in campaigning for the party across Punjab and the country. He is part of the 50-member central campaign committee of the party that Sonia heads.
Amarinder reportedly met Sonia to apprise her of his views. His stand over his preference for campaigning vis-a-vis contesting remained unchanged since his name was first proposed for the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat by some Punjab Pradesh Election Committee members, including state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa. Bajwa today reiterated that Amarinder was a potential candidate against BJP’s Arun Jaitley, provided he decided to contest. “If Amarinder takes on Jaitley, there will be a mega fight and secular forces will win.
If a leader of Amarinder’s stature fights, Jaitley will be history,” he said. Amarinder, however, maintained that he had left the decision on Sonia Gandhi and it would be worthwhile to wait for her decision. The comment is being seen as a hint that he is unlikely to be fielded. Senior Punjab Congress leaders said Amarinder’s case could not be equated to that of sitting MPs Bajwa and Manish Tewari, who were seen to be running away from elections till the high command forced them into the contest.