Will Vinod Khanna's charm work in Gurdaspur?
Maar diya jaaye ya chod diya jaaye, bol Bajwa tere saat kya saluk kiya jayen (Should you be annhilated or left alone, tell us Bajwa (the Congress candidate from Gurdaspur, Pratap Singh Bajwa) what should we do to you)...
The crowd roars as Vinod Khanna, occasional actor and three-time Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur in Punjab, breaks into Bollywood bhasha (language) at his rallies.
When Khanna hits the campaign trail, you can sure Bollywood is not far behind. Salman Khan has campaigned for him this election as has Akshaye Khanna, the MP's second son.
Entertainment appears to be the mantra for Khanna whose performances in 1970s films like Amar Akbar Anthony and Hera Pheri still make the rounds of Hindi television channels.
Image: Khanna addresses an election meeting
'Wah! kya style hain unka'
While trailing him at Deena Nagar, Awalka, Udaipur and Uchathala villages in Gurdaspur we note he still draws crowds, especially women.
After addressing the gathering in Punjabi, the women gather around their MP and discuss their problems with him. Before leaving, he tells them: "Badmash logon ko vote mat dena. Kamal chinh ko hi vote dena. Yaad rakhna 13 tarik (Don't vote for rowdy elements. Vote only for the lotus and remember, the date is May 13th)." The lotus is, of course, the symbol of his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Bibi Amarjeet Kaur, who is among those who have gathered to hear him at Deenanagar, tells us that Khanna has come to her village several times and that she has never missed his campaign.
"I have watched almost all his movies," she tells us, and wah! kya style hain unka (what style he has!). He is exactly like how we see him on the screen."
Image: Khanna arrives at the venue
'This time I will change, even more for the better'
The women insist on keeping the windows of his Mitsubishi Pajero rolled down so that they can speak to him.
"I have served the people of my constituency for 12 years and they love me very much," he says, adding, "I am constantly working on improving my constituency. This time when I am elected, I will change, even more for the better."
Image: Khanna at a road show
'I shall wipe out unemployment'
He also claims that no one understands the people's problems in his constituency better than him.
"I shall wipe out unemployment from here," declares the star-neta who, his critics allege, has been less than fully employed in serving Gurdaspur.
"Main jo bolta hoon kar ke dikata hoon aur mein kabhi jhoot nahin bolta hoon (I do what I say and I never lie)," says Khanna who abandoned Bollywood in the early 1980s to follow then Bhagwan Rajneesh to his commune in the United States.
Khanna then highlights his party's promise of bringing back all the cash Indians have stashed illegally abroad and claims this will solve the problems of the poor in a jiffy.
Image: Khanna greets voters
'Khanna to idhar aata hi nahin'
A similar complaint is heard in Amritsar where another BJP candidate is in the fray; the party is also contesting the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat. Voters in Batala tell us that Navjot Singh Sidhu has not been seen in those parts in a long time and this will threaten his chances of re-election.
Congress candidate Pratap Singh Bajwa believes he will end Khanna's winning run this election. He tours the constituency telling voters that they will get to see his face if they elect him unlike their current Mumbai-based representative in the House of the People.
Like other Congress candidates in Punjab, Bajwa also plays the Manmohan Singh card, sure that this is one state where the prime minister's politicial credentials can provide ballast to a campaign.
Image: A young supporter campaigns for Khanna