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Lok Sabha elections 2019-‘Felt rejected but still support BJP’: Vinod Khanna’s wife on ticket denial

Addressing a press conference here, Kavita indirectly hit out at the BJP for “betraying” her by not considering her candidature from Gurdaspur, which her late husband had represented four times in the Lok Sabha.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 28, 2019 09:55 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
New Delhi
‘Felt rejected but still support BJP’: Vinod Khanna’s wife on ticket denial
‘Felt rejected but still support BJP’: Vinod Khanna’s wife on ticket denial(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
         

Upset over BJP’s decision to field actor Sunny Deol from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab, Kavita Khanna, wife of late Union minister and actor Vinod Khanna, on Saturday said she “felt abandoned and rejected” as she was denied a ticket at the last moment.

She also made it clear that she will not contest the polls as an Independent candidate.

Addressing a press conference here, Kavita indirectly hit out at the BJP for “betraying” her by not considering her candidature from Gurdaspur, which her late husband had represented four times in the Lok Sabha.

“I felt abandoned and rejected. I was made to feel absolutely insignificant. Nobody from the party called me to say there is another candidate. I was in Delhi when he (Deol) joined. I would have gone had they called. I have been approached by many other parties,” she said addressing the media at Press Club of India here.

The BJP Tuesday evening named Deol as its candidate from Gurdaspur, a decision which is being seen as a setback to Kavita who was hopeful of getting nominated from the seat.

Kavita, who had been meeting public and party workers in Gurdaspur, said she was ready to file nomination papers from the seat after many assurances from the party, but she was denied the ticket at the last moment.

“I felt hurt because I understand the party has the right to decide a candidate but there is a way of doing it. The way it was done, I felt abandoned and rejected,” she said.

Actor Vinod Khanna, who died in 2017 at the age of 70 after battling cancer for many years, had joined the BJP in 1997. He had won the the Gurdaspur seat four times -- 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.

On being asked if she would contest as an Independent candidate from Gurdaspur, Kavita said, “No. I will not contest independently. I still have faith in the BJP and will support (PM) Narendra Modi.” On Wednesday, she had said, “I am weighing all my options. I have not decided anything yet (whether to contest polls independently). I have not taken any decision on any issue” She did not respond on whether she would campaign for Deol, but said she wishes that the Gurdaspur seat falls in Modi’s kitty.

“The BJP has my support, my PM has my support. At the same time, I have to insist that this can’t happen again, because I am making a personal sacrifice,” she said.

Kavita claimed that she has a massive support in Gurdaspur just as it was for her husband and the people of the constituency had encouraged her to fight the election.

“My husband was popularly known as ‘sardar of bridges’ for connecting remote villages in his constituency. I have walked barefoot with him to work for the people. I’m confident that had I stood as an Independent, I would have won,” she said. Currently, the Gurdaspur constituency is represented by Congress MP Sunil Jakhar who won the seat in the 2017 bypoll, which was necessitated after the death of Vinod Khanna in April that year.

Jakhar had defeated BJP candidate Swaran Salaria by a whopping margin of 1,93,219 votes.

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 09:54 IST

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