Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sunny Deol has appointed a “representative” to his Lok Sabha constituency, Gurdaspur in Punjab, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

“I hereby appoint Gurpreet Singh Palheri, son of Supinder Singh, resident of village Palheri, district Mohali, Punjab, as my representative to attend meetings and follow important matters pertaining to my Parliamentary constituency, Gurdaspur (Punjab), with concerned authorities,” Deol said in a letter dated June 26. The statement was issued on his official letterhead.

Palheri, who is a writer and line producer, said he was appointed as representative for local issues. “It is like being in 24-hour service of people of Gurdaspur,” Outlook quoted Palheri as saying. Palheri, however, said Deol and the BJP were taking care of public issues in Gurdaspur constituency.

“All he wants to say is that we are available 24x7,” News18 quoted Palheri. “It is wrong to assume that he is running away from his responsibilities. He is visiting the constituency regularly and will continue to do it.”

Palheri said he was not the lone representative. He said: “The letter is irrelevant in that context. He simply means that every ground level worker can be approached in Gurdaspur and he will help you.”

The Congress had targeted Deol in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections for spending time in Mumbai rather than his constituency.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa called it a betrayal of voters’ mandate, PTI reported. “Sunny Deol has betrayed voters of Gurdaspur constituency by appointing a representative,” Randhawa said. “How can an MP appoint his representative? Voters have elected Sunny Deol as MP, not his representative.”

Randhawa was elected to the state Assembly from Dera Baba Nanak, a segment under the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency.