CHANDIGARH: The electorate of Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency has chosen an ‘outsider’ from Abohar in Fazilka district instead of their own Swaran Salaria of SAD-BJP.
Despite continued attempts by the rivals to stick the outsider tag on Congress’ Sunil Jakhar, he trounced the saffron party candidate Swaran Salaria by a whopping margin of 1,93,219 votes in the high stakes bypoll, the results of which were declared on Sunday.
Jakhar maintained the lead in all nine Assembly segments, right from start of the counting of votes at 8 am, in a contest that virtually turned out to be a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP.
Polling for the Gurdaspur seat, which had fallen vacant after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April this year, was held on October 11.
The bypoll was important as it was being seen as a barometer of the popularity of the six-month-old Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab.
The 1.93 lakh margin of victory has not only more than compensated for the 1.36 lakh vote defeat of Congress candidate Pratap Singh Bajwa against BJP’s Vinod Khanna in 2014 but has surpassed even the 1.51 lakh lead by Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder (Congress) had won in 1980,’’ said Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
The Congress won this seat after the 2009 Lok Sabha poll when Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa had won this seat by defeating BJP candidate Vinod Khanna.
Khanna was four-time MP from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat. The actor had won this seat in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014.
Singh came down heavily on BJP and AAP for their personal attacks on Jakhar and added that for a region deprived of growth for so many years, the domicile of the candidate was completely irrelevant as they only wanted someone with sincerity and dedication.
For the Congress in Punjab, the bypoll victory comes after a stellar performance in the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, when it had stormed to power in the state in March this year winning 77 out of total 117 seats - over poll promises like farm debt waiver and free smartphones.