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Posted at: Jun 6, 2019, 7:06 AM; last updated: Jun 6, 2019, 7:06 AM (IST)

Congress attributes Jakhar’s defeat to Deol’s stardom

Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Gurdaspur, June 5

In the preliminary analysis of the Lok Sabha elections by the Congress, party MLAs attributed Sunil Jakhar’s defeat to actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol’s stardom.

“Voters got bedazzled by the actor’s sheer presence. He managed huge leads from the Hindu-dominated seats of Sujanpur, Bhoa, Pathankot and Dinanagar, where there is also a strong presence of ex-servicemen. Located near the International Border, anti-Pakistan sentiment always runs high here. To maximise the vote-catching potential, the BJP, in a politically insightful move, asked local cable operators to screen movies such as ‘Border’ and ‘Gadar’. Reason enough why the actor, playing on the emotions of voters, notched up lead of 30,000 votes,” said a Congress legislator.

In Pathankot, the Pepsi bottling plant, inaugurated jointly by CM Capt Amarinder Singh and Sunil Jakhar a few months ago, was said to be a sure vote catcher because of the employment it generated. However, starry-eyed voters rejected employment and accepted adulation. In Sujanpur, the emotionally surcharged Mukteshwar caves issue was supposed to rope in the Rajput voters for the Congress but these calculations, too, went off in a tangent as voters backed the hero in Deol.

People were so overawed that a whopping 2.7 lakh votes got shifted from the Congress fold to the BJP in 18 months. In the 2017 bypoll, Jakhar trounced BJP’s Swaran Salaria by 1.93 lakh votes but this time, he lost by 82,000 votes. “Deol remained clueless about the problems and issues of the constituency. However, his party did exceptionally well to market him through his movie dialogues.”

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