Popular actor and former BJP lawmaker Dharmendra on Sunday claimed that he would not have allowed his son Sunny Deol to contest the national elections from Punjab's Gurdaspur if he knew who his rival is - Congress's Sunil Jakhar, the sitting lawmaker from the constituency.

"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 told news agency ANI.

Sunny Deol was declared as the BJP candidate from Gurdaspur, days after he joined the party last month.

Dharmendra was in Gurdaspur to campaign for his son. "Sunny cannot debate with him as he (Sunil) is an experienced politician and even his father was a very experienced politician, but we come from the film industry. Moreover, we are not here to debate but to listen to the plight of people as we love this land," he said. 

Sunny had earlier claimed too that he was politically inexperienced but a “patriot”.

Punjab will vote on May 19th in the last phase of national elections.

The fight between Sunny Deol and Sunil Jakhar will be one of the closely-watched contests.

Gurdaspur has traditionally been a BJP stronghold. Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna won the parliamentary seat in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014. Congress's Sunil Jakhar won the seat in 2017 by-elections after his death.

(Source: ANI)