State Congress president and party candidate from Gurdaspur, Sunil Jakhar, tells The Indian Express that he respects his opponent Sunny Deol as an actor, but wants an open public debate with him so that people can make a decision.
How will the candidature of Sunny Deol as a BJP candidate impact you?
It would have no impact. It just reflects the frustration and bankruptcy of local leadership of the BJP. The party was claiming that there was a Modi wave and now (PM Narendra) Modi himself is taking refuge in Sunny Deol. Now, they have accepted that Modi wave has flopped.
History tells us that Vinod Khanna weaved his magic for the BJP.
Lot of water has gone down river Ravi since then. People have seen that they had given me opportunity around one and half year back and I have performed. Now, I have to go to them. It is on them to choose between Jumla and work.
But don’t you admit that the fight is now tougher for you with Sunny Deol in the race.
Elections can never be taken for granted even if a shadow is contesting against you. Elections are always contested irrespective of the candidates. We had to put our best efforts anyways and now there is Sunny Deol, and we will do the same. I hope best man wins.
Do you like Sunny as an actor?
I am fan of his father Dharmendra. I like Sunny as an actor. He is coming from Mumbai to the heat and dust of Punjab, but we can make it easier for him and the people of Gurdaspur and Pathankot. We both can have open public debate on issues in every Assembly constituency under Gurdaspur Parliamentary seat at one or two colleges in a very cordial atmosphere so that people can easily make up their mind.
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What do you want to ask him?
There are issues confronting Punjab, the nation and this border area on which Modi and the RSS must have briefed him. He himself has acted in ‘Border’ movie. Modi sahab is using him as a proxy to avoid uncomfortable questions.
Sunny Deol has an advantage on the issue of Kartarpur Corridor project that falls in Gurdaspur.
Kartarpur Corridor is not contribution of the Modi government. In fact, Kartarpur corridor is happening in spite of Modi in power and not because of him. BJP government has done whatever it could have done to block the progress of Kartarpur corridor but still project is going only due to the blessings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Kartarpur corridor project still going on despite the fact that Modi is talking about nuclear weapons. What union government has done for the 50th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev? They hasn’t given a single penny for this.
Unlike rest of Punjab, Gurdaspur seat went with Modi wave in 2014 and now Modi is claiming credit for Balakot air strikes with Sunny Deol to pitch it.
Gurdaspur and Pathankot have suffered burnt of the terrorism in spite of Modi’s claims that he has ended terrorism. How will Modi and Sunny Deol explain Dinanagar and Pathankot terror attacks? I am doing a favour by giving time to Sunny Deol to prepare by throwing my questions in advance to him. He would be asked to explain what was the aim of bringing an ISI man to the Pathankot Air Force Station. The ISI man was shown our most strategic assets. What was the reason for this expose and the benefit behind this?
Election Commission has asked Prime Minister Modi to not mention Pulwama attack but I think Modi should be allowed to do so because people should ask me and Sunny Deol as to why 40 soldiers were killed in the terror attack. Who was the Chowkidar at that time and what was he doing?
Tuteya eha aatankwadi (an untidy terrorist) came in a old car with 300 kg explosives and blew it up. Modi had to carry 300 kg Israel-made bomb in a Mirage fighter jet to deliver the explosive into Pakistan. Dinanagar-boy Maninder Singh was killed in the Pulwama attack. I went to his home. It was due to PM Modi that his last rites were delayed by 24 hours because they had to make display of the dead bodies at Delhi for photo-op with the PM. If all this moved Modi sahib, then has he instituted a probe into all these terror attacks. These are uncomfortable questions that I would be asking to Sunny Deol.
Are you intentionally not targeting Sunny directly?
I have nothing against to Sunny Deol personally. I respect him as an actor. But he is being used as a proxy for Modi to avoid uncomfortable questions. I am against the ideology of RSS which is not only anti-minorities, but is also anti-Punjab.