Chandigarh: Battle lines have been drawn for the by-election to the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday announcing the name of Swarn Singh Salariya as the party`s candidate.
Party`s Central Election Committee secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda made the announcement of Salariya`s name in New Delhi on Thursday.
Salariya, a Mumbai-based millionaire businessman, was preferred by the BJP over Kavita Khanna, the widow of former MP and actor Vinod Khanna.
The Lok Sabha seat fell vacant in April this year following the death of the veteran actor due to cancer.
The Congress has already announced the name of Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar for the by-election.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is the main opposition in the Punjab Assembly, has fielded Maj. Gen. Suresh Khajuria (retd) for the contest.
The bypoll is scheduled for October 11 and the result will be announced on October 15.
The last date of submission of nomination papers is Friday (September 22).
Born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan), Khanna was popular in the constituency despite accusations from his opponents that he remained absent from the area most of the time. He had stormed the Congress bastion on his electoral debut in 1998, defeating five-time Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder. He won the seat in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.
The Congress, fresh from its emphatic win in the Punjab assembly elections in March this year, is all set to give a tough fight to the BJP. The BJP will contest the election with alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal.
The Congress approved the name of Jakhar, son of former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar, for the bypoll as he was strongly backed by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Jakhar had lost in the Punjab assembly polls in March this year despite the party sweeping the assembly polls, winning 77 out of the 117 assembly seats.