Gurdaspur, October 2
With Sunny Deol certain not to contest the 2024 general elections, the BJP is trying hard to identify his replacement. The actor has not been seen in his constituency for more than two years. People who voted for him are disappointed over his prolonged absence.
His aides say he wants to “leave the field in blaze of glory”. Reason enough why his staff is working overtime to get some key projects cleared. The construction of the 800-m long concrete bridge linking mainland Gurdaspur to a cluster of a dozen villages located across the Ravi is one such project. The project costs Rs 100 crore.
There is also talk of former Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar getting the nomination.
“His 18-month-long experience as an MP will hold him in good stead when the leaders sit together to decide the candidate. Moreover, he knows the problems of the area like the back of his hand. As an MP, he collaborated with the Railways and was on the verge of solving the complex railway crossings conundrum of Pathankot city. However, he lost interest once he lost the 2019 polls. Otherwise, the vexed problem would have got a solution,” said a senior leader.
Jakhar was elected MP in the 2017 bypoll. Former Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Bajwa, too, is in the fray.
Leaders say he has developed an excellent rapport with leaders who matter in New Delhi. “Out of nine Assembly seats, six are dominated by Jat-Sikhs. This vote-bank cannot be simply overlooked when it comes to the crux,” said a BJP politician.
Pathankot sitting MLA Ashwani Sharma and former Mayor Anil Vasudeva are also in contention.
“If Sharma has to lay claim to the ticket, he must widen his reach in the Jat-Sikh dominated seats. He should also be among the public more often,” said political analyst Dr Samrendra Sharma. He should know for he remained an adviser to Vinod Khanna for all four terms the actor remained an MP.
The erudite Vasudeva, a professional CA, is seen as the educated face of the party. To add to his CV, he has also remained the Chairman of the Improvement Trust.
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