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Unmindful of protests, Tytler campaigning as usual
Published on 9 Apr. 2009 2:13 AM IST
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As tension mounted over his political future and protests broke out in Punjab over his involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Congress leader Jagdish Tytler Wednesday went about campaigning as usual and even met Sikh voters in his North East Delhi constituency. A day after a Sikh journalist threw a shoe at Home Minister P. Chidambaram to express his disgust over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) exonerating Tytler, angry Sikhs disrupted train and road traffic in several places in Punjab. Many Congress leaders said a rethink about whether or not Tytler should be a Lok Sabha nominee was on the cards and a final decision would be taken after Congress president Sonia Gandhi returned to the capital at night. But for the man in the eye of the proverbial storm, it was business as usual. “There were no protests in his constituency. Tytler sahaab went about business like any other serious candidate and he was greeted warmly and affectionately by many voters,” said a party functionary. Tytler’s first stop was the densely populated Naveen Shahdara area of northeast Delhi, where he has been fielded after his earlier Delhi Sadar seat ceased to exist because of the delimitation exercise. Kicking off his campaign early at 8 a.m. and surrounded by a motely group of supporters, Tytler visited his constituents, both young and old. “Around 400-500 Sikhs participated in the programme and everyone pledged support. They even donated around Rs.51,000 for Tytler’s campagin,” Dharmendra Malhotra, a close aide of Tytler, told IANS. Amid widespread speculation that he may be dropped as a candidate, a seemingly blase Tytler told reporters that the party was “supreme”. He was asked if he would withdraw from the polls but refused to make any more comments. After his morning meeting with Sikh leaders of the area, Tytler made whistle-stop visits to other areas including Kundanpur, Jagdamba Colony, Khajuri, Karawal Nagar and Welcome, after which he held a meeting of office bearers in Yamuna Vihar. According to his campaign managers, Tytler’s itinerary is full with meetings lined up till the evening and this tight schedule of back-to-back election events would carry on for the next few days. Unless party president Sonia Gandhi willed otherwise.

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