Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday that Bollywood star Sunny Deol had come from Mumbai in search of a career in politics since his acting career was virtually over.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Deol from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, which, along with 12 other parliamentary constituencies in Punjab, will vote in the seventh and final phase of polling on May 19.
Negating the prospect of Deol posing any threat to Sunil Jakhar, the Congress candidate and sitting MP from Gurdaspur, Amarinder Singh said that in sharp contrast to Jakhar, who had been working in every corner of the constituency for the past 18 months, the actor-turned-politician had no interest in the welfare of the people of Gurdaspur.
“Sunny (Deol) has come from Mumbai in search of a career in politics since his acting career has virtually ended. The actor has no stake in Gurdaspur,” Amarinder Singh said while addressing an election rally in Batala.
Pointing out that Deol was spending his time campaigning in Haryana and at other places even after being named the BJP candidate from Gurdaspur, the Punjab Chief Minister called it clear arrogance towards the voters and said that the actor will again show his face to the electorate only after the polls.
Terming the Pulwama terror strike an act of cowardice, Amarinder Singh lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking votes in the name of those who died in the attack and in the name of the Balakot air strike carried out by what Modi claimed to be “his” army.
“It is not Modi’s ‘fauj’ (army), but India’s ‘fauj’ which has fought all the battles and made sacrifices,” said ex-serviceman Amarinder Singh, who had participated in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He also called Modi’s attempt to take credit of the armed forces’ valour abominable.
“Nobody ever saw Indira Gandhi taking credit for dividing Pakistan in 1971. She gave full credit to the armed forces,” Amarinder Singh said.
Earlier, Jakhar also took a dig at Deol by saying that while the actor may be adept in singing and dancing and pulling hand pumps out of the ground, he knew nothing about Gurdaspur or the problems facing its people.
Jakhar said that just as he could not sing and dance, Deol too had no idea about politics or how to be an effective representative of the people.
“I may not be able to entertain you, but I will solve your problems by helping reopen sugar mills and setting up medical colleges,” said Jakhar, as he urged people to vote for the future of the country.
Jakhar had won the October 2017 by-election in Gurdaspur after he beat Swaran Salaria of the BJP by a margin of 1.92 lakh votes. The by-poll was necessitated following the death of sitting MP and actor Vinod Khanna of the BJP.
The Gurdaspur constituency, which has 14,68,972 voters, has a high number of serving and retired defence personnel and many feel the BJP is trying to woo them by using Deol’s ‘fauji’ image.