With BJP declaring candidature of Sunny Deol from Gurdaspur, the Congress, which has renominated its sitting MP from the seat, Sunil Kumar Jakhar, has started planning ahead on how to take on the actor who is known for playing nationalist and upright characters on the big screen.
Gurdaspur electorate is known to have a penchant for celebrities. It had earlier elected actor Vinod Khanna, now deceased, four times in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014. Former state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa had defeated him in 2009.
Even before BJP announced Deol’s candidature, the state Congress’s election management committee launched a search for an actress who could campaign for Jakhar in the constituency. “Jakhar has a clean image. He is a Hindu candidate. He is party state president. But if the poll fight is against a celebrity, then we would have to bring in a celebrity to campaign for Jakhar. It would be a good counter,” said a party leader. Click here for more election news
He added, “We have many options. We are thinking of both the Punjabi actors as well as Bollywood actors. We will make the campaign far more attractive than that of the BJP”.
Lal Singh, chairman of election management committee said, “We will win hands down. Jakhar sahib will defeat Deol with a margin of over one lakh. Is Deol a bigger gun than Arun Jaitley? Captain sahib defeated him (Jaitley) from Amritsar in last LS election”.
Jakhar, who belongs to Abohar had shifted base to Gurdaspur after the passing away of then sitting MP Vinod Khanna. He had won the byelection with a margin of over one lakh votes.
“Deol certainly will have a connect with the people, especially youth, in Gurdaspur. He has immense star value among youth in Punjab. Our boys have always considered him an icon. His contesting the election makes the battle tough, but we are ready,” said another party leader. “His movies are all about machismo, Indo-Pak relationship, and border tensions. His father and brother will campaign aggressively for him. This family has a lot of goodwill in the state. We need to brace ourselves,” he added.