The prolonged absence of MP Sunny Deol from his constituency is likely to dampen the BJP’s appeal to its workers.
There is consensus among party leaders that voters will eventually remember “la-affaire Deol” and therefore vote against the party because of “its non-performance” in the next election.
The last time he was here was during the pandemic in September 2020. Before becoming ill himself while shooting outdoors, the actor went on a whistle-stop tour urging people to stay indoors.
By fielding him last time, BJP leaders have burned their fingers many times over. “He barely contributes to the constituency. He has performed poorly in Parliament. His attendance in the Lok Sabha has also been extremely low. What will we say to the voters in 2024? Now we are considering fielding a local candidate, who knows the political topography of the area well. “Deol has done enough damage,” said a senior Delhi official.
In November, Arjun Ram Meghwal said “a hunt is underway to identify a local leader” during a tour of Gurdaspur.
“Everybody knows how he was virtually arm-twisted into joining politics,” said former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. In 2024, the BJP will pay for the blunder made in 2019. The chickens have come home to roost.”