This is Dharmendra's greatness, said Congress leader Sunil Jakhar, reacting to the veteran actor's praise for him. The lawmaker was referring to Dharmendra's comment stating that he wouldn't have allowed son Sunny Deol, the BJP candidate from Gurdaspur, to contest elections had he known that the opponent was Jakhar.
"This is his greatness. It is his own view," said the Congressman.
He claimed that only a portion of the "Sholay' actor's remark was shown in the media and went on to add that the praise was more profuse than what was reported.
"Only a portion of what he said was shown in the media. What he said initially was that Sunil Jakhar is a clean, honest hard-working and well-meaning person. This, I believe is higher than any post for me," Jakhar, the sitting lawmaker from Punjab's Gurdaspur said.
"Balram Jakhar was like my brother, had I known his son Sunil Jakhar was contesting from Gurdaspur, I would have not allowed Sunny (to contest against him)," Dharmendra had said.
In 2004, Dharmendra had refused to contest the Lok Sabha elections against Balram Jakhar from Churu in Rajasthan. That year he won the polls for BJP from Bikaner. His wife Hema Malini is seeking re-election from Uttar Pradesh's Mathura, making Sunny the third one in the family to take the political plunge.
Sunil Jakhar, the incumbent parliamentarian from Gurdaspur, is the son of Balram Jakhar. He won the seat in the 2017 bye-elections after the death of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna. The constituency is a BJP stronghold and was first won by Khanna in 1998.
Polling will be held in Gurdaspur on May 19 in the seventh and last phase of the national elections. Results for all seven phases will be declared on May 23.