Punjab 2017

Battle of the barracks boils over in Patiala

In Punjab’s Patiala, two ex-Army men are locked in an electoral battle, and with the campaign gaining momentum for the February 4 elections, their war of words is only getting bitter.

Talking to The Hindu, General (retd) J.J. Singh termed Capt. Amarinder Singh a “fake soldier and fake politician”, who, he says, had sensed his defeat and was therefore running away to the Lambi constituency to find an “escape route”. “Capt. Amarinder was a fake solider and sought soft posts in the Army and never fought a battle.. He is a fake politician as well, and hence running from Patiala now, but I’ll expose him,” said Gen. Singh, who is fighting as the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate against former Chief Minister and Punjab Congress president Capt. Amarinder Singh from Patiala (Urban), a Congress stronghold.

‘It’s a Cong. ploy’

“He [Capt. Amarinder] knows that he is going to lose the upcoming election and therefore he is looking for an “escape route’’ by contesting from Lambi. He will lose here [Patiala] and there [Lambi],” Gen. Singh said. “In fact it’s a ploy of the Congress high command to get rid of Capt. Amarinder.”

Gen. Singh, who was the first Sikh officer to become the Army chief, said he had returned to Patiala to serve the people of Patiala and Punjab, after serving in the Army and also as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.

“Having spent my early childhood in Patiala where my maternal and paternal grandparents settled as refugees from Pakistan, I have returned to pay back whatever I can to the people of Patiala, be it politically or socially,” he said.

Dismissing the criticism that he was a “parachute’’ candidate who lacked the support of party cadre, Gen. Singh said he had the “complete support of not just local Akalis, but the BJP as well”.

“Our party workers are united and the people of Patiala have this time made up their mind to defeat Capt. Amarinder, who is hardly seen in this constituency..I’ll teach him a lesson..He has taken the people of Patiala for a ride all these years,” said Gen. Singh.

War of words

Both former soldiers have been engaged in a war of words since the poll campaign picked up momentum. Capt. Amarinder, after filing his nomination, had hit out at Gen. Singh, saying: “I refuse to call him a General, as it was a fluke caused by his seniority and not the result of merit.. He was a year junior to me and I know, he was an average general.”

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 10:30:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-2017/Battle-of-the-barracks-boils-over-in-Patiala/article17064013.ece

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