Congress Wins Gurdaspur Lok Sabha By-Poll

Congress's Sunil Jakhar defeated BJP nominee Swaran Salaria with a margin of 1,93,219 votes.

Gurdaspur: Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar today won the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-poll 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 polled 3,06,533, a poll official said. Aam Aadmi Party nominee Major General (retired) Suresh Khajuria came in third with 23,579 votes.

The seat had fallen vacant after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April this year.

The Congress won this seat for the first time since the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, when Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa had defeated BJP candidate Khanna. Khanna was a four-time MP from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat. The actor won this seat in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.

An elated Jakhar thanked voters for the resounding victory in the by-poll. “With this victory, people have reaffirmed faith in the leadership of Amarinder Singh,” said Jakhar. “This is a victory for the Congress and Capt Amarinder Singh.”

Congratulating Jakhar, the Punjab chief minister said it is a victory for the development agenda.

After trends suggested a massive lead for the Congress, party workers assembled at the party office in Chandigarh and started distributing sweets and danced.

Talking to reporters, state cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “We have sent a beautiful Diwali gift packed with red ribbon to our would-be president Rahul Gandhi because it sets the tone…It will be a shot in the arm for the Congress.”

“This (victory) is a big slap on the face of ‘jija -saala‘ (SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia). Today BJP will realise that Akali Dal in Punjab has become a burden. Time and again people have reprimanded them. It will be demoralising and send them (SAD-BJP) packing,” said Sidhu.

Punjab BJP secretary Vineet Joshi alleged that the Congress misused the official machinery in the by-poll

AAP candidate Khajuria also accused the Congress of using “undemocratic means” in the by-poll. “Ruling party used undemocratic means in these elections. People were scared and youth was almost absent in the by-poll. If they (Congress) win then that victory will not be a respectable one,” Khajuria alleged.