Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday described the results of the Khadoor Sahib by-election as a “massive victory” that would lay the foundation for an “unprecedented” SAD-BJP win in the state assembly polls next year.
“The bypoll outcome has laid the foundation stone of an unprecedented SAD-BJP win in the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections,” the five-time Chief Minister said.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won the bypoll to Khadoor Sahib Assembly seat, with party candidate Ravinder Singh Brahmpura defeating his nearest Independent rival Bhupinder Singh by a margin of 65,664 votes.
Main opposition parties Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had stayed out of the contest.
“This is also a forceful mandate against politics of negative and destructive ideas and forces who had sought to destabilise Punjab and hamper its progress through their anti-peace and anti-Punjab activities in recent times,” Badal said in a statement issued in Chandigarh.
The chief minister said that he was “surprised” by the stand of the Congress and other opposition parties alleging that they stayed away from the bye-election on the ground that it would not result in a change in government in the state.
The people have punished them for abandoning the holy town of Khadoor Sahib merely for cheap political and selfish interests, he said.
“Do you contest elections only to gain power and run away from the people if there is no chance of your forming a government?” asked Badal.
Badal also thanked the people for “endorsing” the programmes, policies and performance of the SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab through this “most powerful” mandate.
The bypoll was held as the seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki resigned in protest against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib last year.
Congress had “boycotted” the polls, saying the issue on which Sikki had resigned was still unresolved.