Gurdaspur remembers Vinod Khanna as man who built bridges


But, it was constructed immediately after he became MP of Gurdaspur. This bridge was a promise made by one politician after another before Khanna joined politics. He wanted to make Pathankot an industrial and tourism hub but it did not become a reality. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App now 2017-04-28T13:44:06+00:00″>
Updated: April 28, 2017 1:44 pm

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vinod Khanna in Pathankot. But in Bollywood style, Khanna and his supporters arrived at the venue. Pathankot and Gurdaspur are border districts divided by rivers. “He was a celebrity and people wanted to believe him. He last came to Gurdaspur in February 2016 and told people that he was absent from the constituency as he had been suffering from cancer. Bridges provide big comfort to people and it allowed Khanna to win the 2014 Lok Sabha election despite the fact that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance did not do well. His wife Kavita stood in for him. He, too, made the same promise when he first contested the Lok Sabha election from Gurdaspur in 1998 and again in 1999. Using this, local BJP leaders tried to prevent him from getting the Lok Sabha ticket in 2014, but he managed to stave them off. Khanna had been defeated in the 2009 election only by a small margin. The administration had to allow Khanna to inaugurate the bridge separately. Express archive
IN PATHANKOT and Gurdaspur districts, Vinod Khanna will always be associated with the bridge over the River Beas connecting Mukerian with Gurdaspur, though supporters and opponents are divided over his contribution towards building it. Another bridge was built over Ujh river in Pathankot. Vinod Khanna will also be remembered for his long absences from the constituency even during his earlier terms. Instead, it was then Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who opened the bridge on August 21, 2003. Khanna also built an airport in Pathankot in 2006. This is also credited to Khanna, though it was clearly a state government effort. So, it was obvious that people gave credit to Vinod Khanna,” said local BJP leader Avinash Rai from Pathankot. Later, Captain Amarinder Singh wrote to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that his government had invested the money to build the bridge. There was minor stone-pelting by BJP workers. Many politicians had promised to construct this bridge before Vinod Khanna. The bridge was ready in 2003 but Khanna, then the Minister of State for External Affairs in the Vajpayee government, was not invited to inaugurate it. However, in the people’s perception, Khanna was the hero.