Late Bollywood star and BJP's Gurdaspur MP, Vinod Khanna, besides being known for his on screen names like "Jabbar' and "Amar", was also known as veteran BJP leader L K Advani's man.
It was due to his relationship with Advani that Khanna had managed to get a Lok Sabha ticket from Gurdaspur as a powerful BJP lobby wanted a ticket for Swarn Salaria believed to be close to Swami Ramdev. Khanna's name was cleared in the last when Advani backed his candidature and stood by him.
The situation is no different this time as Vinod Khanna's second wife Kavita Khanna is likely to stake claim on the party ticket as he died in the middle of his tenure. Sources close to the Khanna family say she will be organising an obituary in Gurdaspur next week to commemorate the memory of her star husband and the developmental works like two strategic bridges connecting Beas and Ujj rivers in the border district.
"We do not want a film star as they usually ignore the constituency after reaching Lok Sabha.Kavita Khanna could be the best bet for the party as besides a known face in Gurdaspur,she may garner sympathy votes. It is her right to get the party ticket," a Vinod Khanna aide, based in Gurdaspur, requesting anonymity said.
It is worth mentioning here that Kavita Khanna had been managing the constituency affairs in the absence of her husband who often skipped visiting the constituency due to his film career. Kavita Khanna and Vinod Khanna had bought a house in Gurdaspur which also doubled as a party office.
Kavita would meet the people and listen to their grievances when Khanna was out. She was regularly in touch with his supporters in Gurdaspur when he was hospitalised.
However, despite Khanna having won four Lok Sabha elections and the last with a huge margin of 1.38 lakh votes, winning an election will not be a cakewalk for Kavita Khanna as Congress recently swept seven out of nine Assembly segments. BJP and its alliance partner Akali Dal could only manage to win one each seats.
Even if BJP fields a Bollywood actor, rival parties like Congress and Aam Aadmi Party are also thinking to field star candidates to challenge BJP. What remains to be seen is whether BJP goes with Kavita Khanna or fields a Bollywood star or a local politician. What is evident is that winning the byelection will be a sand walk rather the cake walk.