Gurdaspur promises keen, close, and unpredictable contest

Wednesday, 15/05/2019

CHANDIGARH : The widespread misperception created about Gurdaspur being a one-sided contest in favour of the BJP may turn out to be grossly misplaced.

The constituency promises a keen and close contest, too difficult to predict for multiple reasons. The BJP candidate Sunny Deol no doubt carries an appeal, which is being received well for him being a popular actor of yesteryears. Besides, his father Dharmendra commands immense respect across the state. The Gurdaspur constituency has been a BJP stronghold for the past several elections, except for 2009 when it lost by a narrow margin of 8000 votes only. However, this time the situation is different. The BJP will have to cover at least a gap of two lakh votes as the Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar won the by-election in 2017 by a whopping margin of 1.93 lakh votes. This may not look impossible, but it is not very easy. Particularly,when the Congress has a strong and powerful candidate like Jakhar supported by a strong team of leaders and workers. Jakhar is an accomplished politician and an ace orator who connects well with the masses. Besides, he has a neat and clean image. He is not faced with any factional fights within the party. The entire rank and file of the party is rallying behind him. Also, the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s announcement that he is the “future Chief Minister” of Punjab has gone across well with the people. The Congress also has an advantage that of the nine assembly segments in the parliamentary constituency, seven are with it. Although, this has also led to anti-incumbency against the sitting MLAs, which may reflect in the elections, Jakhar’s gentle persona and appeal may override it.

Jakhar has been connecting with the workers with effortless ease. He has been connecting with the masses with his simple but brilliant oratorical skills. He has cultivated an image of being strongly against the Badals. And when Capt Amarinder needed him the most, he rallied behind him, at one point of time even antagonizing the party high command. He had to pay a heavy price by being replaced from the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Compared to Jakhar, Sunny Deol is shy. His sole attraction is of being a film actor. Whether that will translate into votes is difficult to make out. Because, he is not like Vinod Khanna or for that matter any other star who can deliver good speeches like filmy dialogues. Rather, Jakhar delivers more one liners than anyone else, in cluding Sunny Deol, who mostly does not speak at all. With complete ignorance of the local or even national issues, Sunny Deol is always seen at a loss of words. In the process, he has committed many guffaws thus embarrassing the party. With the result, the party has been trying to limit his exposure to public and the media and he is only taken around in roadshows without any interaction with anyone. Another most important factor is that most of the BJP leaders and workers are seen to have grown complacent as they anticipate an easy win. In strong contrast, the Congress workers and leaders are giving it their best. They have taken the challenge seriously. While nobody can predict what the final outcome will be, one thing is certain that it is going to be a very close contest, which can swing anyway. “The very fact that the BJP had to find someone like Sunny Deol with a star appeal speaks enough about how strong Jakhar is and eventually he will definitely prove to be more stronger”, remarked Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, a senior Congress leader and Punjab Minister for Cooperation and Jails and a prominent face of Jakhar’s campaign.

Punjab Politics News

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