Sunil Jakhar is an Indian politician and former president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Jakhar was elected as an MLA consecutively three times from the Abohar constituency. From 2012 to 2017, he served as the Leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
Sunil Kumar Jakhar was born on Tuesday, 9 February 1954 (age 68 years; as of 2022), in Panjkosi, Punjab. His zodiac sign is Aquarians. After completing his graduation, Bachelor of Arts, from a government college in Chandigarh in 1974, he pursued a Master of Business Administration from Kurukshetra University, Haryana (1997).
Parents & Siblings
Sunil Jakhar belongs to a Hindu Jat family. His father, Balram Jakhar, was an Indian politician, who served as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Governor of Madhya Pradesh. Balram Jakhar, who died in 2016, served as the Lok Sabha speaker for two successive terms from 1980 to 1989, the longest-serving Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Sunil is the youngest of three siblings. Sunil’s eldest brother Sajjan Kumar Jakhar served as agriculture minister in the Beant Singh’s government in Punjab. In 1997, Sajjan Kumar, on a ticket from INC, contested the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections from the Abohar assembly constituency. In the elections, Sajjan was defeated by the BJP candidate Ram Kumar. Thereafter, Sajjan’s political journey came to a halt when the party did not entrust him with a ticket in 2002. Sunil’s elder brother Surinder was a farmers’ rights activist, but he never got into electoral politics. Surinder shot himself by accident in 2011.
Wife & Children
His wife, Silvia Jakhar, is a homemaker, and she hails from Switzerland.
Sunil Jakhar’s nephew, Ajay Vir Jakhar (Sajjan’s son), served as the chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission (2017-2021).
Panjkosi, Teh. Abohar,
Distt. Fazilka-152128, Punjab
1996 General Elections
He began his journey as a politician when he contested from the Ferozepur Lok Sabha constituency in the 1996 general elections on a ticket from the Indian National Congress (INC). The seat was won by Mohan Singh Phalianwala of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
2002 Punjab Legislative Assembly Elections
In 2002, Sunil Jakhar, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, contested from the Abohar assembly constituency. He won the elections defeating independent candidate Sudhir Nagpal by 7339 votes.
2007 Punjab Legislative Assembly Elections
In 2007, Sunil Jakhar, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, contested from the Abohar assembly constituency. He won the elections defeating the BJP candidate Ram Kumar by 17, 201 votes.
2012 Punjab Legislative Assembly Elections
In 2012, Sunil Jakhar, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, contested from the Abohar assembly constituency. He won the elections defeating the independent candidate Shiv Lal Doda. From 2012 to 2017, he served as the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
2014 Indian General Elections
In 2014, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, he contested the Lok Sabha polls from the Ferozepur Lok Sabha constituency in which was defeated by SAD’s Sher Singh Ghubaya by a margin of 31,420 votes.
2017 Punjab Legislative Assembly Elections
In 2017, Sunil Jakhar, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, contested from the Abohar assembly constituency. He was defeated by the BJP candidate Arun Narang, who won the elections by a margin of 3279 votes.
2017 Gurdaspur By-Election
In 2017, a bypoll was declared on the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat after the demise of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna of the BJP. Jakhar contested and won the seat on a ticket from the Indian National Congress defeating BJP candidate Sawarn Singh Salaria by 1,93,199 votes. As an MP, he was a member of the Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests.
2019 Indian General Elections
In 2019, Sunil Jakhar, on a ticket from the Indian National Congress, contested from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency. He was defeated by popular Indian actor and BJP candidate Sunny Deol by a margin of 82,459 votes.
Quit Congress in 2022
Days after receiving a notice from Congress High-Command, Sunil Jakhar resigned from all posts of the Indian National Congress on 14 May 2022; he made his decision to quit Congress public through a Facebook live video in which he concluded his address by wishing Congress good luck and goodbye. He said,
This is my parting gift, my last words spoken to the Congress men. I have highlighted things which need a chinta not chintan shivir. Good luck and goodbye Congress.”
Alleged Violation of Conduct of Election Rules
In 2012, Akali Dal leader Shiv Lal Doda filed an election petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana against Sunil Jakhar challenging the result of the 2012 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections. Doda claimed that due to the wrong publication of the ballot paper, his voters and supporters especially the illiterate cast their vote in favour of the person at serial No. 1 (Jakhar) as they failed to find Doda’s name at the end of the ballot paper. The election petition was dismissed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, stating that the petition was wholly frivolous and vexatious, and Doda was charged with a fine of Rs 50,000.
Linking Sukhbir Singh Badal to Bhim Tank Murderer Shiv Lal Doda
In 2017, Jakhar lodged a complaint to Punjab’s chief electoral officer providing him seven mobile phone numbers, which, according to Jakhar, were being used by Akali Dal leader Shiv Lal Doda and his nephew Amit Doda in Fazilka jail. Shiv Lal Doda and Amit Doda were imprisoned in Fazilka jail after being accused in the Bhim Tank murder case of Abohar. During a press conference, Jakhar claimed that even a DGP level officer of Punjab Police was in touch with Doda on regular basis through these phone numbers and demanded a fair investigation. Reportedly, Jakhar also tipped off the Election Commission of India to conduct a raid on Fazilka jail after which it was discovered that Shiv Lal Doda violated prison laws by illegally meeting 24 outsiders inside the jail premises. Jakhar also claimed that the provision of such facilities to Doda could not happen without the active support of Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akali Dal president, who was then serving as the Deputy CM of Punjab.
In April 2022, Dalits lodged a complaint against Sunil Jakhar for his alleged remark against the community claiming that his objectionable language had hurt the sentiments of Dalits. Apparently, Jakhar had indirectly targeted Charanjit Singh Channi, who had become the state’s first Dalit CM, terming him a liability for the party after Congress lost to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2022 Punjab assembly elections. In his tweet, Jakhar called Channi a liability and blamed him for pulling INC down in Punjab.
An asset – r u joking ?
Thank God he wasn’t declared a
at CWC by the 'Pbi' lady who proposed him as CM in first place
May be an asset for her but for the party he has been only a liability. Not the top brass,but his own greed pulled him and the party down pic.twitter.com/Lnf6vJgRzF
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) March 14, 2022
In the aftermath of the incident, members of the Sri Guru Ravidas Federation Punjab, and Satguru Ravidas Dharam Samaj Punjab burnt an effigy of Sunil Jakhar. Later, Sunil Jakhar paid obeisance at Sant Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir at Varanasi to tender an unconditional apology.
Disciplinary Action by Congress
Following his Anti-SC remarks, AICC cracked the whip against Sunil Jakhar for going against the party line by issuing a show-cause notice asking for a reply within a week. Thereafter, there were speculations regarding has suspension of Jakhar for a period of two years and removal from all party posts. At the end of the deadline to reply to the notice, Jakhar refused to reply and said that he was ready to face action.
Asset & Properties
- Cash: Rs 5,87,040
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs 8,60,38,105
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies: Rs 20,09,133
- Personal loans/advance given: Rs 3,71,345
- Motor Vehicles: Rs 1,00,079
- Jewellery: Rs 2,37,000
- Other assets, such as values of claims/ interests: Rs 1,29,45,673
- Agricultural Land: Rs 2,67,70,146
- Commercial Buildings: Rs 2,00,000
- Residential Buildings: Rs 12,25,04,180
In May 2019, Sunil Jakhar declared over Rs 7.37 crore deposits in the Zurcher Kantonal Bank in Zurich, Switzerland, in his wife’s name. Jakhar also declared that he and his wife have immovable assets of Rs 2,88,41,688 and Rs 1,20,63,26,638 respectively.
As of 2019, his net worth is Rs 25,17,62,701
- He owns a Jeep Cherokee.
- Winning the 2017 Gurdaspur By-Election, by 1.93 lakh votes, Sunil Jakhar broke the records of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency. The previous record for the highest margin of victory in the constituency was held by former Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, who, in 1980, had won with a margin of 1.51 lakh votes.
- In the 1996 general elections, Sunil wanted to contest the Sikar Lok Sabha constituency, a seat that his politician father had represented twice in the past, but instead, he was instructed to contest the Ferozepur Lok Sabha seat by INC. In an interview, Sunil attributed this shift as the reason for losing the 1996 general elections.
- Like Sunil, his father, Balram, had also held the position of Leader of Opposition (1977). Thereafter, he graduated to central politics in 1980.
- Jakhar announced that he was quitting electoral politics on the same day when Rahul Gandhi declared then CM Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections, 2022. Jakhar revealed that he was upset because the party leaders believed that a Sikh face would be suitable for the CM post. Thereafter, he claimed that the party did not choose him as its chief ministerial face as he is Hindu.