Chandigarh, March 22 IANS | 1 year ago

Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said that he was ready for the high-profile battle Saturday, a day after he was announced as the Congress candidate to take on senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Indicating that he had overcome his initial reluctance, which he openly stated Thursday, Amarinder said that he was ready to fight it out against Jaitley and ensure a Congress victory in Amritsar.

"I was reluctant earlier but now that my name has been announced, I am ready for the fight," Amarinder said here.

The Amritsar seat goes to polls April 30 along with 12 other Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dumped its sitting MP, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, and fielded Jaitley from the Amritsar seat. Sidhu hads won the seat in 2004, 2007 (by-election) and 2009 for the BJP.

Before Sidhu, Amritsar was represented by seven-time Congress MP Raghunandan Lal Bhatia. Sidhu defeated him in 2004.

The former Punjab chief minister had Thursday expressed his reluctance to contest the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat but had later added that he would contest if Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked him to.

After Sonia asked him to do so, Amarinder agreed, party insiders said.

Congress activists and supporters went into celebration mode in Amritsar after Amarinder's name was announced for the seat.

(Posted on 22-03-2014)

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