Gurdaspur bypoll: Jakhar meets Vinod Khanna’s wife Kavita to kick off his campaign, ruffles BJP feathers
Jakhar had announced at a rally in Gurdaspur on Friday that he was a fan of Vindo Khanna and it would have been difficult for him to contest against his wife.punjab Updated: Sep 24, 2017 09:27 IST
A day after filing his nomination papers, Punjab Congress chief and the party’s nominee for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byelection, Sunil Jakhar, kicked off his campaign from Pathankot on Saturday by visiting Kavita Khanna, wife of actor-politician Vinod Khanna, whose death in April necessitated the bypoll. Kavita was a contender for the BJP ticket that eventually went to businessman Swaran Salaria.
Jakhar had announced at a rally in Gurdaspur on Friday that he was a fan of Vindo Khanna and it would have been difficult for him to contest against his wife.
“I paid a visit to her as I knew Vinod Khanna personally too. I had met him during a film shoot and also as an MP. He had no airs of being a star and I have a lot of respect for him. So, I could not have started my campaign without paying my respects to his wife. There was nothing political about it,” Jakhar told HT.
A movie buff, Jakhar said he has seen most of Vinod Khanna’s movies. With a penchant of belting out Bollywood dialogues during press conferences, Jakhar even remembers some of his famous dialogues.
But the BJP camp was not amused. The Congress strategy behind the “courtesy call” was also to make friends in the rival camp and the meeting has ruffled the feathers of Salaria. The BJP won Gurdaspur four times with Vinod Khanna as its nominee.
But Kavita too said, “It was just a visit of one leader to show respect for the other. I am and will remain with the BJP,” she said. She was with Salaria when he filed his nomination papers on Friday and had insisted that she is supporting him.
Anyhow, the first day of Jakhar’s campaign was not without its share of heartburn among his own party leaders too. Some said they were cold-shouldered during the opening of the campaign office at Pathankot’s Patel Chowk.
Former minister Raman Bhalla, who too was contender for the ticket, stayed away from Jakhar’s campaign, so did Sukhdev Wadhera and Kartik Wadhera. Bhalla said he was not invited for the opening of the office by district Congress committee president Anil Vij. “It seems the party does not need our support,” one of the leaders said. “We will meet Jakhar and lodge our protest against Vij,” Kartik said. Vij said it was the duty of every Congress worker and leader to join the campaign: “They should put up a united show rather than wait for invitations.”