For the BJP in Punjab cine star, Sunny Deol is expected to be the gamechanger. The party’s decision to field him as a Lok Sabha candidate in Gurdaspur would not only decisively boost the BJP’s poll prospects in Gurdaspur, but would also have a bearing on the neighbouring Amritsar and Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seats, It could be far more substantial than what the late Vinod Khanna could have when he was pitchforked by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998. Sunny Deol would have a spontaneous appeal among the Jat Sikhs, who constitute a substantial number in the Majha region, besides the BJP’s core cadre support.
The BJP leaders in the region are pinning their hopes in a big measure on Sunny Deol and Dharmendra to boost the sagging prospects of the party in the region.Though it will be a huge task for him to turn the tables on the Congress in Gurdaspur which has eight of the nine Assembly seats in its pocket, his chances of wresting the seat from the Congress look promising, as of now. The sitting Congress MP Sajjan Jakhar, himself being a disconnect in the constituency, would face a far too more difficult fight this time than he had done in 2017 when he won the Lok Sabha by-election against Swaran Salaria of the BJP.In Amritsar Lok Sabha seat where the BJP has fielded former IFS officer and Union minister Hardeep Singh, who is relatively far too an alien face, Sunny Deol would be helping the task of the BJP.
The rural segments of the Amritsar constituency comprise a big chunk of Jat Sikh votes. Initially, of course, Sunny Deol’s name was being considered for the Amritsar seat as well. Senior BJP leaders also expect Sunny Deol to influence the Hoshiarpur seat, though not very substantially because of its limited Jat vote bank. “But his cinematic appeal could sway parts of the constituency bordering Gurdaspur”, said a senior BJP leader.
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