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Amarinder refuses to contest from Amritsar seat

Posted on Mar 20 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, March 20 : With speculation rife in Punjab's political circles that the Congress wanted to field him from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat against senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, former chief minister Amarinder Singh Thursday declined to contest, saying he would not be able to do justice to its people.

Expressing his inability to contest from the Amritsar seat, Amarinder Singh said in a statement here that he had made his stand against fighting the Lok Sabha elections clear to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

He said that he had met Gandhi about three weeks ago and that she had offered him to contest from Bathinda or Amritsar. He said that he had clarified that he will not be in a position to contest since his wife Preneet Kaur, minister of state for external affairs, was contesting from Patiala seat.

He said that his presence was required across Punjab and "contesting from Amritsar would simply confine him to one single constituency".

Claiming that a number of local leaders from Amritsar were strong enough to be fielded from the seat, Amarinder said that he was already lined up to campaign for party candidates in other constituencies and tying him up in Amritsar would not be good.

"Even if I contest and am elected as an MP from Amritsar, I will not be able to do justice with people there as compared to someone who would be local. Besides being an outsider, I don't know Amritsar as much as someone from that area. I will not be able to spend required period of time there," Amarinder said.

"The people of Amritsar are already fatigued and frustrated because of an absentee MP (Navjot Singh Sidhu) and they will not like to replace one absentee MP with the other," he said, adding that he had commitments in Delhi.

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