Sunil Jakhar wins Gurdaspur bypoll: A jolt to BJP in its bastion
Party insiders say Salaria was no match for Sunil Jakhar, who is a suave, second-generation politician and a good orator.punjab Updated: Oct 16, 2017 09:55 IST
Ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll result in favour of the Congress has sent a big message for the central leadership of the BJP.
Even as state BJP leaders blame the controversy surrounding former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah and his arrest in a rape case just before the bypoll, the selection of business tycoon Swaran Singh Salaria over former MP Vinod Khanna’s widow Kavita Khanna is also being seen as the reason for the party’s defeat in its bastion.
Party insiders say Salaria was no match for Sunil Jakhar, who is a suave, second-generation politician and a good orator. Salaria, a novice in politics and a poor speaker, failed to strike a chord with the voters. Despite riches he couldn’t match Jakhar’s political finesse, they say. The old rape case against Salaria also dented his prospects of putting a good show in the bypoll, say party sources.
“The election turned out to be a contest between the Congress government and the rest,” said a BJP leader, who alleged misuse of government machinery during the bypoll.
“The election turned out to be a contest between the Congress government and the rest.”
Knowing that winning wouldn’t have made any difference to the prospects of Akali-BJP coalition in Punjab and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, the coalition failed to build a strong campaign. The central leadership of the party too stayed away and state BJP chief Vijay Sampla and SAD president Sukhbir Badal failed to give a fillip to Salaria’s campaign.
Congress MLA Amit Vij managed to break the BJP stronghold in Pathankot from where Jakhar’s victory margin was 8,700 votes.
Out of nine assembly constituencies falling in the Gurdaspur parliament segment, seven has Congress MLAs.
Meanwhile, the alliance has alleged that the ruling Congress won the bypoll by misusing the government machinery.