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Gurdaspur bypoll: BJP gets personal as Sampla hits at Jakhar’s Swiss in-laws

The BJP chief, however, had to face a volley of questions on whether its own four-time MP, Vinod Khanna, who lived in Mumbai, was a local.

punjab Updated: Sep 28, 2017 20:31 IST
Vinay Dhingra
Vinay Dhingra
Hindustan Times, Pathankot
Gurdaspur bypoll,Punjab news,Vijay Sampla
Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla(HT File)

Attacks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against Congress nominee for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll Sunil Jakhar seem to be getting personal.

Punjab BJP president Vijay Sampla on Thursday cautioned Gurdaspur voters against choosing an “outsider” over a “local” candidate of the party, Swaran Singh Salaria.

But Sampla did not stop at only dubbing Jakhar an “outsider”. “He hails from Panjkosi in Abohar. It is close to the Rajasthan border,” he said. The distance, Sampla said, only gets more intimidating if voters were to meet Jakhar if he was at his in-laws, the BJP chief said.

“Even if Salaria is at his in-laws place, voters can meet him as they live in Tanda Urmur (in Hoshiarpur). But in the case of Jakhar, one will have to go to Switzerland as his in-laws live there,” Sampla said while addressing a press conference on Thursday.

The BJP chief, however, had to face a volley of questions on whether its own four-time MP, Vinod Khanna, who lived in Mumbai, was a local. The seat is witnessing a bypoll as Khanna passed away in April. The BJP chief projected Khanna as a local saying the actor-politician had bought a house in Pathankot and hailed from the area.

On the defensive on the “outsider” tag on Jakhar, the Congress too has launched a counterattack on the BJP, asking it to clarify its definition of the term. “Salaria too is settled in Mumbai for his business. And where did Vinod Khanna live, its leaders tell voters.”

State health minister Brahm Mohindra, while campaigning in Pathankot segment on Thursday, said the BJP was trying to mislead people over petty issues by ignoring major issues confronting Gurdaspur.

Jakhar, on his part, said he will not indulge in mudslinging like the BJP leaders. “They are devoid of issues to take on the Congress. Gurdaspur needs a representative who can flag their problems. I consider myself as a genuine and responsible person to raise people’s voice in parliament. The outsider pitch of the BJP is a sign of sheer desperation,” he said.

The “local” tag is also what AAP candidate Maj Gen SK Khajuria (retd) is banking on during his campaign. “I want to serve the area and will be available for the people as compared to candidates of other parties who do not have their roots here,” Khajuria has been telling voters.

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 20:29 IST