The Gurdaspur seat fell vacant following the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April this year. While on Wednesday, the Congress nominated its Punjab unit president Sunil Jakhar, a loyalist of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the BJP on Thursday has decided to field Swaran Singh Salaria as its candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha by-election scheduled on Oct 11. Salaria, 58, hails from Chauhana village of Bhoa assembly segment and is a member of the BJP’s National Executive.
Jakhar had thanked INC high command and said would take everyone along and ensure victory for the party.
“I am grateful to the high command for their confidence in me. With so many good and deserving contenders for the ticket, it was certainly a hard decision. I will try my best to come up to their expectations.”
He also said the election results would be a referendum on BJP’s three year mis-governance.
Gurdaspur victory is not only a challenge for the Congress but also Jakhar personally. Congress is desperately eyeing at winning this election, specially after it formed the government in the state.
The last date for filing of nominations for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election is September 22 while the model code is already in force.
However, besides INC and BJP, AAP too has fielded Major General Suresh Khajuria (retired) as its candidate from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat for the said election. Khajuri is the leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly.
About Gurdaspur Seat and Vinod Khanna connection :
Khanna joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1997 and was elected from Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab in the following year’s Lok Sabha poll. In 1999, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the same constituency.
After becaming union minister for culture and tourism in July 2002 and moving to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) as Minister of State within six months, he won re-election from Gurdaspur in 2004. Although, Khanna had lost out in the 2009 general elections, he was re-elected for the 16th Lok sabha from the same constituency in 2014