What started as trading barbs over who is an "outsider" in the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency Sunday escalated into a full war of words between rival candidates - BJP's Arun Jaitley and Congress' Amarinder Singh - after the name of Congress president Sonia Gandhi was dragged in.
Amarinder Singh Sunday took a strong objection to Jaitley's remark on Gandhi. "It is unbecoming of a leader like Mr Jaitley to drag Ms Gandhi into an argument where he finds himself to be defenceless. I always thought Mr.Jaitley was a gentleman but I am sorry to read about his shameless attempts to question the statehood of Ms Gandhi when she had nothing to do about what I had said yesterday (Saturday) in a newspaper interview about Mr.Jaitely," said the former Punjab chief minister.
Questioning Amarinder's remark about his being labelled as an "outsider" and "pseudo-Punjabi" in the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, Jaitley had asked Saturday in his blog: "Will he be kind enough to tell me to which state in India does Mrs Sonia Gandhi belong to?"
Lashing out at the BJP's "chauvinistic and xenophobic rabble rousing" attempts to question Gandhi's origins, Amarinder said: "Every time you (BJP) have tried to rake up this issue you have badly lost."
Accusing Jaitley of lowering the level of debate, Amarinder said that his "newfound love for his Punjabi-roots was sheer opportunism". Polling will be held for Punjab's 10 Lok Sabha seats April 30.