It just took actor Sunny Deol less than a month after entering politics to defeat state Congress president and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar in direct contest in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat.
Sunny Deol secured a handsome victory with a margin of 82,459 votes. He got 5,51,177 votes against Sunil Jakhar’s 6,74,168 votes.
Stardom-struck voters of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, Modi wave in Hindu dominated Assembly segments, anti-incumbency of several local MLAs were seen as reasons collectively responsible for the defeat ofJakhar from Gurdaspur constituency.
Of nine Assembly segments, Jakhar won only two segments, represented by his aides Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Rural and Urban Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa from Dera Baba Nanak and Fatehgarh Churian by a margin of 18,780 and 20,859 votes, respectively. Both are Sikh dominated areas.
Biggest lead for Sunny Deol came from the Hindu belt with constituencies Pathankot, Boha, Sujanpur and Dina Nagar, where voting had remained high.
Sunny Deol won all the four constituencies contested by BJP in Gurdaspur with huge margin. Jakhar trailed in all Hindu dominated segments including Sujanpur, having a margin of 34,034, Bhoa with a margin of 29,423, Pathankot with a margin of 29,381 votes, and Dina Nagar having a margin of 20,522. In Sikh dominated Gurdaspur, with a sizable Hindu population, however, the margin was slice thin at 1,149 in favour Sunny Deol. In Batala, which again went to Sunny Deol, the margin was thin at 956 votes. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi had come to campaign for the Sunil Jakhar, with a roadshow in Pathankot city. However, it didn’t help Jakhar much.
Former PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa’s hometurf Qadian also disappointed Jakhar from where he lost by 1,183 votes.
While CM Amarinder Singh had addressed two rallies for Jakhar, Congress star campaigner Navjot Sidhu too had campaigned. Amarinder had even announced Jakhar as the next Chief Minister to woo the Hindu voters.
“The lead in Hindu dominated segments was so much that it was difficult to break. Only four constituencies gave Sunny a lead of 1.10 lakh. We managed the margin not to hurt us much in Batala, Gurdaspur and Qadian but nothing much could be done,” said a source close to Jakhar. His aides said Qadian and Batala could have done better but with Partap Bajwa staying away in Qadia and local leadership not working in Batala damaged prospects.
After winning the seat, Sunny said: “I am feeling great. The love that people showered during the election campaign has made me victorious. Now, I will have time to understand my constituency and solve all the problems. So far, I have identified that youth and farmers’ issues are top issues in the constituency.”
Former MP and actor Dharmendra, father of Sunny Deol, in a tweet spoke about his relationship with Jakhar’s father, Balram Jakhar.
“Politics has hurt old relations, but my love is still the same and it will remain the same. With love for Jakhar,” he tweeted.
Replying to the tweet, Sunil Jakhar said: “Ji Dosti hai, sheesha nahi jo toot ke bikhar jaye jnab, Hamne rishte nibhaye hain, asoolon ki trah – aur nibhate rahenge.”