Former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who died yesterday, had a connection with the Sikh holy city of Amritsar – from relatives to the famous ‘Amritsari kulchas’.
In his debut Lok Sabha election in 2014, which he lost to Congress’ Amarinder Singh, he said he had a greater Amritsar connection than his political rival.
“If you ask me about my ancestral town, I would say Amritsar as I have at least 40 cousins and relatives who live here. I have been politically closely connected with Punjab and my base was always Amritsar. I know all the party workers here,” he was often quoted as saying in his interactions with voters.
In his first and last electoral battle in his political career spanning over four decades, he had said he was excited to be in the fray from Amritsar for two reasons.
“Firstly, I am a Punjabi belonging to Amritsar, and secondly I want to serve my constituency by using my influence with the new government coming,” he had said.
His favourite local food was ‘Amritsari kulchas’, a local delicacy.
“I am getting a regular supply of ‘Amritsari kulchas’ even when I am in Delhi,” he had said.
Amarinder Singh, who is now the chief minister, won the seat by a margin of more than a lakh votes by defeating Jaitley. At that time, the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance was in power in the state.
During the campaigning in 2014, Singh often accused Jaitley of being a ‘pseudo’ Punjabi and a ‘guest from Delhi’.
At this, he replied: “Despite my ancestral roots in Punjab, Captain Sahib (Amarinder Singh) called me an ‘outsider’ and a ‘pseudo’ Punjabi. Will he be kind enough to tell me which state in India does the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) belong to? I will rather ask him why he is still so obsessed with a mindset of ‘Maharaja’. He is a monarch in a democracy. He is too much obsessed with himself. Even feudalism has not gone out of his head. He is always rude and thinks he has the right to insult others. He is the discredited captain of a sinking ship.”