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Gurdaspur bypoll: Punjab Congress leaders revel in victory, Amarinder says outcome a denunciation of SAD-BJP

BJP’s loss similar to an innings defeat, says Navjot Singh Sidhu

india Updated: Oct 15, 2017 15:48 IST
Gurdaspur election result,Gurdaspur news,Sunil Jakhar
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar celebrates with State cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and other party leaders after winning the Gurdaspur parliamentary bypoll, in Gurdaspur on Sunday. (PTI photo)

Leaders of Punjab Congress launched on Sunday a blistering attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party and its state ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), hours after results handed the ruling party a big victory in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election that was previously a BJP stronghold.

Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar won by defeating his nearest rival, BJP nominee Swaran Salaria with a margin of 1,93,219 votes. Jakhar polled 4,99,752 votes while Salaria got 3,06,533, an election official said.

“This win is a big slap on the face of jija- sala (Sukhbir Badal-Bikram Majithia). Today, the BJP will feel that the Akali Dal in Punjab, especially the jija-sala, have become a burden,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu, who switched to the Congress last year after being an MP with the BJP.

“Time and again people have reprimanded them and sent them back,” he said, adding the Akalis were like an albatross around the BJP’s neck.

“This win is not small, this is huge. When a (cricket) team loses by five runs or by a narrow margin, it still stands up to put a fight in another contest. But when somebody loses by 400 runs or suffers an innings defeat, it breaks the back. It is an innings defeat for them (SAD-BJP combine). It is a demoralising defeat for them, it has sent them packing,” he said.

Chief minister Amarinder Singh said the results marked an important step in the revival of the Congress, which was routed by the BJP nationally in the 2014 elections.

“The massive win for Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar shows the people’s complete denunciation of the corrupt and immoral BJP and SAD,” the chief minister said, adding that it also underlines the “political annihilation” of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state.

“Jakhar’s victory comes as a strong rebuttal to the persistent Akali efforts and campaign of the past six months to undermine the work being done by his government in the state,” he added.

Jakhar, the winner, said, “the BJP must read the writing on the wall now”.

“People have rejected the BJP and also shown mirror to (their ally) the Akalis”.

Sunday’s result comes weeks months before crucial elections in Gujarat – the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and Himachal Pradesh, one of the few regions still under Congress control.

First Published: Oct 15, 2017 15:32 IST