Bikaner garam to Dharam charm
"If Dharmendra doesn't win the polls, I will commit suicide," says Kuldeep Gurjar, who has from Saharanpur in UP to threaten the voters of Bikaner.
Kuldeep Gurjar has come all the way from Saharanpur in UP to threaten the voters of Bikaner. "If Dharmendra doesn't win the election, I will commit suicide," he proclaimed in an interview.
Such passionate pleas by fans have become routine in this district, where the yesteryears' film star is locked in a contest with Rameshwar Dudi (Congress).
"The young and the old in Bikaner have gone absolutely mad," says Kailash Sharma, a resident of the old city. "They are prepared to do anything to ensure Dharmendra wins."
The Congress has tried every trick to damage the halo around Dharmendra. With its eyes on the decisive Jat vote, it first raised the issue of the actor being a 'non-Jat' and a Ramgarhia Sikh. Later, it raked up the issue of his second marriage to Hema Malini and his alleged conversion to Islam.
But the personal attacks have backfired on the Congress and only increased Dharmendra's supporters.
"This is his personal matter. We have nothing to do with it," says Mal Singh Mehnot of Kolayat. Moreover, marriage with the Dream Girl is seen as an enviable achievement. "Sab se sundar heroine se shaadi kiya gaon ka chhora (The village lad married the most beautiful heroine)," says an impressed Mehnot.
BJP leader Sardar Gurjant Singh says while the party's Jat vote is intact, the Punjabis and Sikhs have been swayed in the star's favour because of the controversy. Local BJP leaders claim that Muslims too have softened towards Dharmendra after his nikaah controversy.
The only issue that seems to be working for the Congress is Dharmendra's non-resident Rajasthani status.