BJP MP Sunny Deol’s decision to appoint a film writer and an apolitical man, Gurpreet Singh Palheri, as his representative to “follow important matters pertaining to the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency” has not gone down well with the local leadership.
The MP has made it clear on his official letter head that Palheri, who has his residence in Mohali, will look after the affairs of the constituency.
Palheri has absolutely no political experience or expertise and hence Deol’s choice has surprised many.
The constituency is divided into two revenue and three police districts.
Observers claim the Palheri will directly take up issues of importance with Gurdaspur DC Vipul Ujwal and his Pathankot counterpart Ramvir.
It is expected that he will also chair meetings of the politically significant District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC). These meetings are chaired by the sitting MP and often review the working of Centrally- sponsored schemes.
The choice of Palheri, who has written movies like ‘Sajjan Singh Rangroot,’ has stumped senior BJP leaders who claim Deol could have done better by giving charge to a person well-versed in the affairs of the area.
He has also been part of the teams that produced movies like ‘Yamla, Pagla, Deewana’, ‘Ghayal, Once Again’, ‘Son of Sardar’, ‘Manje Bistre’ and many others.
Palheri is popularly known as ‘Giani’ and represents ‘Kisaan Productions’.
He was often seen accosting Deol during the latter’s roads shows in the run up to the Parliamentary elections.
A senior leader said the MP should have appointed a political person to represent him. “Palheri is not known to many people. Moreover, like Deol himself, he has little or no knowledge pertaining to the problems plaguing the sensitive border constituency,” maintained a local satrap.
Even before his ‘appointment’ was made by Deol on June 26, Palheri had already convened meetings of office-bearers ostensibly “to discuss some issues”. Some senior leaders, apparently feeling peeved by their MP’s decision, had given these gatherings a miss.
Interestingly, Deol’s predecessors, including fellow film star Vinod Khanna and Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder and Sunil Jakhar of the Congress, had never appointed any representatives.
“All these leaders themselves presided over meetings of party office-bearers and administration officials. Vinod Khanna himself used to chair the DVMC meetings. Deol has not shown political maturity by appointing a man from Tinsel Town as his representative,” said a senior BJP leader.