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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Khanna, Salaria eye BJP ticket from Gurdaspur

Kamaljit Singh Kamal, Hindustan Times  Gurdaspur, May 14, 2013
First Published: 18:50 IST(14/5/2013) | Last Updated: 18:52 IST(14/5/2013)

With Lok Sabha election slated to be held in 2014, former union minister and cine star Vinod Khanna and as well as BJP national executive member Swarn Salaria are eyeing the party ticket from Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency.

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Both the leaders individually claim they would be BJP candidates from Gurdaspur.

Khanna had lost the Gurdaspur seat in the last general election to Partap Singh Bajwa of the Congress by a thin margin. Bajwa held the advantage since he was a "local" whereas Khanna had annoyed Gurdaspur residents by his long absence from the constituency that had returned him to Lok Sabha three times.

Interestingly, Salaria is playing the same "local" card with the BJP leadership to nip the challenge of Khanna in the bud. He hails from Chouhana village in Pathankot district, a part of the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency.

On the other hand, Khanna has also increased his visits to the constituency and is trying his level best to convince Gurdaspur residents that he "will not repeat the folly of neglecting his electorates" this time.

Addressing a public rally in Gurdaspur a few weeks ago, the Bollywood star had claimed that one could not get party ticket by just pasting a large number of posters in the constituency, indirectly hitting at Salaria who had got his posters pasted in the constituency to extend greetings to the people of Gurdaspur on various occasions.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Parsuram at the Parsuram temple in Dhariwal on Monday, Salaria claimed that he had been directed by the BJP high command to work in the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency since he would be fielded by the opposition party for Gurdaspur seat.

Swarn Salaria had joined the Congress in the hope of party ticket against BJP's Vinod Khanna in 2009. Denied the Congress ticket, he immediately joined the BJP, where he is now the national executive member.

Whether he manages to bag the BJP ticket from Gurdaspur in the coming general election or the party would opt to bank on old warhorse Vinod Khanna, only time will tell.

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