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NEW DELHI: The Indian election circus is getting interesting as elections dates near. This is what happened in the Indian poll scene on Friday:
AMARINDER SINGH: Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh will take on BJP leader Arun Jaitley in the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi forced him to take on Jaitley after his reluctance that he was needed to campaign for the party across the state, particularly his home Patiala where his wife and union minister wife Preneet Kaur is locked in a three-cornered contest.
Sonia reportedly snubbed Capt Amarinder Singh by refusing to see him on Thursday. This forced the 72-year-old scion of the royal family of Patiala to take the plunge against Jaitley who is contesting his first-ever election.
SHATRUGHAN SINHA: People showed black flags to the `Bihari babu’ when he went to file his nomination papers for the Patna Sahib seat. But protesters were beaten back by his supporters.
He had faced similar protest on Thursday in the Bihar capital by a group of BJP workers who are opposed to his candidature on the grounds that he rarely visits the constituency.
“Not only party workers, the majority of people in Patna are not happy with Shatrughan Sinha,’’ a BJP leader was quoted as saying.
BUTA SINGH: Buta Singh, former home minister and one-time close confidante of Indira Gandhi, has been long forgotten by the Congress. But this time, he will contest the upcoming elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Jalore in Rajasthan.
Buta Singh, who served as agriculture minister and home minister under Rajiv Gandhi from 1984 to 1989, was a powerful Congress leader during the transition from Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi.
A Dalit leader from Jalandhar in Punjab, he won Lok Sabha elections eight times from 1962 to 2004. He also served as Bihar governor from 2004 to 2006.
JASWANT SINGH: Senior BJP leader and sitting MP from Darjeeling Jaswant Singh has been denied ticket by the party from Barmer in his home state. Instead, the BJP is fielding Col Sonaram Choudhary.
Jaswant Singh, 76, is likely to contest as an independent.
Why has this man who held important portfolios of external affairs, defence and finance in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, denied the ticket?
Because he is close to L.K. Advani who himself is finding by sidelined by the party.
Remember, Singh was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2009, and the NDA candidate for vice-president in 2012.
How fortunes change in politics!
AYA RAM, GAYA RAM: Congress leader and sitting Paudhi Garhwal MP Satpal Maharaj on Friday quit the Congress and jumped over to the BJP.
“I want India to grow and outsmart China in development and this is only possible when an able leader like Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister,’’ Maharaj said while joining the BJP.