A tale of drinks and drugs as Punjab votes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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