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Home is where heart is, my heart is in Ludhiana, beats for Congress, Amrita


Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Punjab Congress president

The Tribune Interview: Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Punjab Congress president and new Ludhiana MP elect

Punjab Congress president and new Ludhiana MP elect Amrinder Singh Raja Warring (46) feels that home is where the heart is and his heart is in Ludhiana, which, he said, has given him so much love and trust. He said his heart beats for his wife Amrita and the Congress.

Having trounced his friend-turned-foe turncoat Ravneet Singh Bittu of the BJP by a convincing margin of 20,942 votes in what he said was “war against the traitor”, the three-time sitting MLA from Gidderbaha and former transport minister said the Congress would continue to oppose the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state while focusing on ‘Mission 2027’.

In an exclusive interview with Nitin Jain, the former Indian Youth Congress president said his wife Amrita was active in politics and if she wants to contest from Gidderbaha, which he will vacate following his election from Ludhiana, then she can approach the party. Excerpts:

Will you shift to Ludhiana from your hometown now?

I have already shifted when I started the campaign here. Home is where the heart is. My heart is in Ludhiana, which has given me so much love and trust. When it comes to personal life and party, my heart beats for both my wife Amrita and the Congress as well.

What was the one main thing that made you victorious from Ludhiana?

It was not just one thing. There were many. People’s support, workers’ hard work and dedication.

You were nominated from Ludhiana at the eleventh hour but you accepted the party’s decision upfront and took no time to take up the battle. How did you manage to make your way from Bathinda to Ludhiana?

I have faith in my party and party workers and of course, my own ability to handle any challenge that I am faced with. But over and above, I will attribute it entirely to the party rank and file from grassroots workers to senior leaders who made it happen.

Your opponents dubbed you as an outsider. How did you manage to fight this charge?

I don’t think I really needed to fight this charge. Nobody treated me as an outsider. Had it been so, would I be winning from here?

Your fight was against your friend-turned-foe sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who had won two previous elections from Ludhiana. How difficult or easy did you find the contest?

It was neither difficult nor easy. It was a challenge that I accepted. I worked hard and had immense support from people of Ludhiana which translated into our party’s victory.

While contesting yourself, you were also engaged in overseeing party affairs and campaigning across the state as PPCC chief. How did you manage and balance Ludhiana and Punjab affairs simultaneously?

I tried to maintain a balance between the two. I was able to perform the PPCC president’s role simultaneously, only because my people from the party, who include those from my immediate family also, were on the ground.

How difficult or easy did you find taking along party cadres and people along in Ludhiana?

It was the party’s battle. I had not chosen to fight from Ludhiana. It was the party that had chosen me. And the party belongs to everyone and everyone belongs to the party. Hence, there was no difficulty at all.

In Punjab, Cong won seven seats to emerge as single largest party but tally came down from 8 in 2019. How do you see this mandate?

This is a clear and categorical mandate in support of the Congress. People are looking forward to the Congress to provide leadership they need and deserve. Mandate is clearly for the Congress.

Congress and AAP fought separately in Punjab while both are part of the INDIA bloc and contested jointly in other states. After the results, are you convinced that the decision was right or wrong?

Of course, it was a right decision on our part to contest independently in the state. That has been proved by the results.

With your seven seats won from Punjab also going to INDIA bloc of which AAP is also part. What will be your future plan as the main Opposition party against ruling AAP in the state?

In 2022, people of Punjab chose us for the role of the Opposition. We will not move away from that responsibility. We have been doing it and we will keep on doing it. That is the reason we went alone in these elections.

Now, you will have to leave your three-time Gidderbaha Assembly seat, requiring a by-poll. Would you like to pitch for your wife Amrita for it as she was interested to contest this parliamentary elections from Bathinda as well?

Amrita certainly is very much active in politics. You must have seen that she was an important part in the campaign here and has an immense role in the final outcome. Besides being my wife, she is also a party worker. If she wishes to contest, she can approach the party like any other aspirant and it is up to the party to decide on the candidate from Gidderbaha.

What would be your priorities for Ludhiana as MP?

It is not that I have come to Ludhiana for the first time. It is impossible to be in Punjab and not have been to Ludhiana. Ludhiana is the heart of the state. It is the industrial capital of Punjab. It is a great and prosperous city. I want to see it at par with some of the best industrial hubs in the country such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, etc, and make it world famous. I will be presenting my blueprint soon after due consultations from experts.

What would be your future plan to further strengthen Congress in Punjab?

Congress is already strong in Punjab as you have seen in the results. We will keep on working hard and taking everyone along. It is the responsibility of every Congressman in the state to watch and safeguard the party’s interests. Take it from me, the Congress will be doing far better in 2027 over what it did now. We are already into the “Mission 2027”.

After winning from Ludhiana and bagging seven seats in the state, your stature in the party has further risen. How do you see it?

I am a team man and consider myself as one of the team members of the party with some additional responsibility. It is not Raja Warring’s feat and achievement, it is the achievement of the Congress scripted by the hard work of each and every worker. I don’t want to lay any exclusive claims to it just because I hold an extra responsibility of being the PCC president.

With BJP-led NDA all set to form a new government at the Centre. How would you benefit Ludhiana and Punjab as an opposition party?

Governments, no matter of which party, are not exclusively for one particular party. Governments are for everyone. Like I am not just the MP of those who voted for me, I am the MP for all the people of Ludhiana, who voted for and against me and who did not vote at all. Same is the case with the governments. I have always believed in cooperation and conciliation when it comes to working for the people. Political differences need not be brought in while working for the public welfare.

#Amrinder Singh Raja Warring #Congress

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