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Posted at: May 24, 2019, 7:01 AM; last updated: May 24, 2019, 7:01 AM (IST)

Jakhar undone by reel hero

Two ministers get PPCC chief lead in their segments, Aruna fails
Jakhar undone by reel hero
BJP’s Sunny Deol takes out a victory procession in Gurdaspur on Thursday. Tribune photo

Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Gurdaspur, May 23

The charisma of film star and BJP candidate Sunny Deol triumphed over the experience and political sagacity of three-time former MLA

and Congress’Sunil Jakhar with the former trouncing the PPCC chief by more than 82,000 votes.

In fact, the moment the BJP announced Deol’s candidature from this border constituency, Jakhar was left staring at the spectre of political irrelevance. Going by the massive crowds that Deol, a greenhorn, pulled at his roadshows coupled with the management skills of former Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma and Pathankot Mayor Anil Vasudeva, his victory comes as no surprise.

While the BJP asked Vasudeva to coordinate in the Hindu-dominated seats of Bhoa, Pathankot, Sujanpur and Dinanagar, Sharma was made the overall incharge of the

constituency. Considering that Jakhar had won the 2017 bypoll by 1.93 lakh votes, there has been a massive shift of 2.70 lakh votes from the Congress to the BJP in just 18 months.

This constituency has three Congress ministers. Two of them — Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa — performed exceedingly well, ensuring for Jakhar a lead of 21,000 and 19,000 votes from Fatehgarh Churian and Dera Baba Nanak seats, respectively. Local leaders say Bajwa has now become the No. 1 leader in Gurdaspur district by managing such a big lead against Deol.

The third minister, Aruna Chaudhury, lost her home seat of Dinanagar by nearly 21,000 votes, which means 32,000 votes from her vote bank shifted to the BJP. Observers say this has put a question mark on her future in view of the CM’s ultimatum that “any minister who loses his or her seat will have to resign”. Minutes after the final result was announced, Capt Amarinder said action would indeed be taken against the minister.    

Of the nine seats, Deol led on seven. He won the Hindu belt of Bhoa, Pathankot, Sujanpur and Bhoa, each by over 20,000 votes. For the Congress, the die was cast when Deol filed his papers. Ministers and workers knew it was an insurmountable task to match him as word spread that he had been picked by the PM and BJP chief and that they would leave no stone unturned to ensure his win. 

Barring Bajwa and Randhawa, all other legislators failed to galvanise their workers.

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