Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday described Shiromani Akali Dal's victory in Dhuri assembly bypoll as a "resounding verdict" in favour of the policies, programmes and performance of its alliance government with the BJP in Punjab.
In Dhuri by-poll, SAD candidate Gobind Singh Longowal drubbed Congress-Sanjha Morcha candidate Simar Partap Singh, a political greenhorn and grandson of former Governor and chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala, by a handsome margin.
Expressing gratitude to the people of Dhuri constituency, the chief minister said, "This victory increases our responsibility and we are totally committed to live up to the high expectations that people have from us."
He said the Dhuri by-election result "truly reflects" the mood of the people of Punjab.
"It shows in the most forceful and categorical manner that the people of the state stand fully behind the policies and programmes of SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab. It is a powerful mandate in favour of government policies based on a complete commitment and emphasis on peace, communal harmony, development, progress and prosperity in the state," he said.
"The result also puts a decisive end to the propaganda of negative politics, vilification and cheap sensationalism on the one hand and to the false and hypocritical idealism of some parties to mislead the people on the other," Badal said in a statement here.
Badal, who is also the patron-in-chief of the SAD, said that the massive margin of the SAD-BJP victory is also a clear, categorical and forceful rejection of "divisive and opportunist policies" of our opponents.
The chief minister predicted that the "forceful Dhuri momentum and trend" would not only continue but would become even stronger for the general assembly poll in 2017.
"It is just a trailer and a foretaste of things to come. The writing is clearly on the wall in bold print. Those who do not want to read it must be suffering from willful political blindness," he said.
SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also termed the victory in the Dhuri bypoll as a verdict in favour of the "pro-people development policies of the Punjab government" and a complete rejection of "negative campaign" run by the Congress.
"The by poll result has set the trend for the 2017 assembly elections in which the Congress will now face complete elimination," he added.
Sukhbir said the Congress after facing severe leadership Sukhbir said the Congress after facing severe leadership crisis at national and state level had limited itself to false and negative propaganda.
"People of the nation and Punjab have repeatedly taught lessons to the Congress party but it had not learned anything from repeated failures. After 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections, one will find Punjab Congress in history pages only," he added.
Hitting out at AAP, he said the party had relied on sensationalism and falsities and thus after being completely rejected both in the Talwandi Sabo and Patiala assembly constituency, it "did not dare to contest the Dhuri bypoll".
Predicting that Parkash Singh Badal would again become chief minister after Assembly elections in 2017, Sukhbir said that unflinching ties of SAD-BJP were unbreakable and the same will pave further way to prosperity and growth in Punjab.
In reaction to the Dhuri bypoll result, BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh said the "historic win of SAD-BJP alliance candidate in Dhuri by-poll is an approval of the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Badal.
"This shows that the people of the country, and in this case of Punjab, have not only accepted the policies and programmes initiated and aggressively pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but have also started re-imposing their faith on as a mark of appreciation.
"The agenda of development launched by the Union government and Prime Minister's efforts to improve the relations with various countries have gone well with the people who have rewarded the SAD-BJP alliance with another victory with a thumping margin," he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa maintained that no individual could be held responsible for the outcome of the Dhuri assembly bye-election as the victory or defeat was a collective process.
He, however, slammed Arvind Khanna for "backstabbing the Congress", and said he was "in league with the Akali Dal".
Notably it was Khanna's resignation, a Congress MLA related to former chief minister Amarinder Singh, that necessitated the by-election. He is also known for his close association with Sukhbir.
Bajwa attributed the huge margin to misuse of official machinery and money power by the ruling Akali Dal.
"At the same time, there was a big communication gap between the Congress cadre and Barnalas," he added.