Sunny’s stardom outshining Congress in Gurdaspur

Sunny’s stardom outshining Congress in Gurdaspur

BJP's actor-turned-politician candidate Sunny Deol. File photo

The Congress stronghold of Gurdaspur in Punjab is being threatened by the stardom of BJP's actor-turned-politician candidate Sunny Deol.

Deol is drawing huge crowds to his road shows. His popularity is gaining ground with each passing day. His father Dharmendra and brother Bobby Deol are campaigning in the constituency to ensure Sunny’s victory.

Out of the nine assembly segments here, the Congress had won seven MLA seats in 2017. Three are ministers in Amarinder Singh’s cabinet.

However, as polling date approaches, the going appears tough for Sunil Jakhar, the Congress candidate. The party is hoping that the groundswell of voters during Sunny’s roadshows and rallies will be limited to his fans wanting to get a glimpse of the actor. The party is worried about the crowd translating into votes on May 19.

In fact, Sunil Jakhar has sought a roadshow by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in order to neutralise the gains made by Deol. She has agreed and will be in Gurdaspur segment for a roadshow on Tuesday, which will pass through many Hindu-dominated segments and BJP stronghold areas to impact voters. Priyanka will meet ex-servicemen and youth in the area.

The BJP has always won the seat when it fielded a celebrity from Gurdaspur. Late actor Vinod Khanna won this Lok Sabha seat three times in a row when he was fielded by the BJP. Sunny Deol too has chances. His popular movies including Border and Gaddar have patriotic appeal and suit BJP’s narrative of hyper-nationalism. 

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is wary of Sunny Deol’s fast entry into Gurdaspur, despite being tagged an outsider in unfamiliar territory. Amarinder attempted to woo the voters on Sunday by sowing the idea that Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar could be the future chief minister of Punjab.

Dharmendra and Sunil Jakhar’s father, later Balram Jakhar were best friends. Their sons are today pitted against each other. Dharmendra reportedly said if he had known about the Congress nominee, he would have perhaps advised Sunny not to contest polls.