Bollywood actor and BJP candidate Sunny Deol this afternoon cast his vote from Mumbai in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections. He was seen at a polling booth in the city's Vile Parle area along with his younger brother Bobby Deol. After veteran actor Dharmendra and his wife Hema Malini, Sunny Deol, became the latest member of his family to join the BJP last week. He will be contesting the national elections from Punjab's Gurdaspur constituency.
Sunny Deol started his day offering prayers at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, before leaving to file his nomination in Gurdaspur, where he was joined by his brother Bobby.
After filing his poll papers, Mr Deol addressed a rally, attended by Union Ministers VK Singh, Jitendra Singh and Minister Vijay Sampla. His speech in Gurdaspur, peppered with dialogues from some of his popular films, was received with cheers from a crowd much larger than the one in Mumbai.
"Look, I do not know much about politics but I am a patriot," Mr Deol said. "I have come here to connect with you because I want our Punjab and our country to scale new heights," he said.
Sunny Deol is up against Congress candidate and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar who is the Punjab Congress president. Another big contender for the seat is the Aam Aadmi Party's Peter Masih. In the 2014 general election, the AAP won four seats from Punjab, out of 13.
The Gurdaspur seat has been a BJP stronghold, represented by actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014. After his death, there was speculation that his wife Kavita Khanna would be nominated from the seat.
"The BJP and my Prime Minister have my support, but at the same time I have to insist that what has happened with me can absolutely not happen again," she said.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has taken a swipe at Sunny Deol, known for playing soldier in several films. "Sunny Deol is a 'filmi fauji', while I am a 'real fauji', the chief minister had said in Gurdaspur recently.