After verbal fireworks, Jaitley, Amarinder greet each other (Poll Diary)

Written by: IANS
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Chandigarh, April 6: They have been at war with each other. But when the rival contenders in Amritsar came face to face on Sunday, Arun Jaitley of the BJP and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress greeted each other as they met briefly at a park in Amritsar.

Both leaders, who are pitted against each other in the high-decibel contest for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, happened to meet at the Company Bagh in the heart of the Sikh holy city.

While Amarinder Sunday acknowledged his meeting with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader at the park and exchanging courtesies, Jaitley's blog did mention his visit to the park but not a single word about meeting with Amarinder.

In recent days, both leaders have directed barbs at each other. Both have accused each other of lowering the level of political discourse between them.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is describing political leaders, who till recently were his colleagues in the party and the government, as "Chinese goods".

Taking a jibe at the BJP for having fielded four leaders, who recently left the Congress and joined at the BJP, for Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, Hooda said that the BJP, which was claiming a wave for itself, could not even find suitable leaders within its own ranks to contest the elections.

Out of the eight seats that it is contesting in Haryana (10 Lok Sabha seats), the BJP has fielded ex-Congress leaders on four seats - Rao Inderjit Singh in Gurgaon, Dharambir in Bhiwani-Mahendergarh, Ramesh Kaushik in Sonipat and Raj Kumar Saini in Kurukshetra.

"The BJP failed to even find eight candidates from its own ranks. Let me tell them, these are Chinese goods and there is no guarantee. Some of them were seeking Congress tickets till recently and are now part of the BJP," Hooda said while addressing a rally in Sirsa Sunday.

The Congress, which has been in power in Haryana since March 2005, is not only facing anti-incumbency and an anti-Congress mood but also ex-Congressmen who have turned against the party.

The ruling Badal family in Punjab, especially Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Sukhbir's brother-in-law, cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia, saw nothing right politically with sitting BJP MP from Amritsar, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.

However, their attitude for the BJP's new candidate Arun Jaitley for the same Amritsar seat, is a complete contrast.

The Badals and Majithia have been all over Jaitley in the last two weeks. The senior BJP leader, who faces a formidable opponent in former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, has to depend on the Akali Dal leaders and BJP for his victory from Amritsar.

Majithia and Badal senior are in attendance at rallies of Jaitley. Even Punjab BJP leaders, who too were at loggerheads with Sidhu, have solidly fallen behind Jaitley. Sidhu, it seems, has rubbed all of them on the wrong side with his outspoken ways. But whatever he said in recent years was hardly for himself. Most of the talk related to Amritsar's development and funding.


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