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A millionaire on scooter vs a royal on a Merc!

Monday January 30, 2012 10:26:11 AM, Jaideep Sarin, IANS

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A tale of drinks and drugs as Punjab votes

The hawk eyes of the Election Commission's surveillance teams notwithstanding, the flow of liquor and drugs seems to be on ahead of Monday's ballot to pick a 117-seat Punjab assembly. If the seizure of liquor and drugs  

Chandigarh: He may be a multi-millionaire but that doesn't stop Surjit Singh Kohli from riding around on a scooter through the congested bylanes of Punjab's Patiala town to campaign. In contrast, his opponent moves in a helicopter or a ML-class Mercedes SUV followed by a cavalcade of cars.

Pitted against Punjab's high-profile Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh, Kohli can be seen driving his Bajaj Chetak scooter (PB-11-Y-2288) with a supporter riding pillion and others following in other two-wheelers, reaching out to the voters of the Patiala-urban assembly seat for the Jan 30 assembly election.

Wearing garlands around his neck, Kohli, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal candidate, comfortably moves around on the two-wheeler even as his opponent criss-crosses Punjab to campaign for the Congress candidates.

For the record though, Kohli is a multi-millionaire with a fleet of trucks for his transport business. He is one of the big names in Punjab's transport business. At his big house, luxury cars and SUVs can be seen. His son Ajit Pal Singh is the young mayor of Patiala.

Addressing small meetings in various parts of the town, Kohli tells the voters: "This is a fight between the maharaja and your servant. Your choice is between an inaccessible maharaja and a commoner."

Upbeat about his campaign, Kohli said: "Things have changed. People of Patiala are fed up with him (Amarinder). Anyways, he lives mostly in Chandigarh or his orchard in Himachal Pradesh."

Kohli has contested against Amarinder Singh earlier also and lost.

Amarinder Singh, who belongs to the royal family of Patiala and is addressed as 'Maharaja Sahib' by most of his lieutenants, has left his campaign to his daughter, Jai Inder Kaur, and other family members as he himself canvasses for Congress candidates in other parts of Punjab.

"You are casting your vote not to elect a legislator but the chief minister of Punjab," Jai Inder Kaur can be heard telling small groups of people who gather around.

"At most places, people, especially women, come out to see the royal princess who is in their midst seeking votes," said Balbir Kaur, a resident of Adalat Bazaar area.

Amarinder's wife and union minister of state for external affairs, Preneet Kaur, who is the sitting Patiala MP, also chips in for his campaign.

While she is the brain behind his campaign in Patiala, her focus and presence is these days more on the adjoining Samana assembly seat where their son Raninder Singh is contesting.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at






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(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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