Chandigarh, May 23 (IANS) Union Minister and BJP’s candidate for Punjab’s Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, Hardeep Singh Puri, on Thursday accepted his defeat to his Congress rival Gurjit Aujla.
Diplomat-turned-politician Puri faced a tough straight fight in the constituency dominated by the Jat community, and lost by over 100,000 votes.
“I was hoping to wrest the Sri Amritsar Sahib seat, but respectfully accept the verdict of the people,” he said in a tweet.
Reiterating his commitment to serve the holy city and the constituency, he said: “My love for them will not diminish in any way. I will continue to be a ‘sewadaar’ (volunteer) of the holy city in whichever way I can. I congratulate Sardar @GurjeetSAujla Ji & assure him all help for the development of Sri Amritsar Sahib.”
Often accompanied by Punjab BJP President Shwait Malik and other party leaders, Puri carried out a vigorous campaign in Amritsar from where the current Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley suffered an embarrassing defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Congress’ Amarinder Singh.
Amarinder Singh, who is now the Chief Minister, had won this seat by a margin of more than a lakh votes in 2014 by defeating Jaitley. At that time, the SAD-BJP combine was in power in the state.
The Amritsar seat was represented by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu from 2004 to 2014 when he was with the BJP. Sidhu is now a cabinet minister in the Congress government in Punjab.
Following his win in Amritsar, Amarinder Singh led the Congress to a thumping victory in the Punjab elections in February 2017.
He quit as the Amritsar MP before the Assembly polls and Aujla was fielded by the Congress for the by-election, which the latter won by over 1.97 lakh votes, defeating the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party candidates in a triangular fight.