Having conceded the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha election in 2014 to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress won a decisive mandate in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll with its candidate Sunil Jakhar romping home by over 1,90,000 votes.
Necessitated by the death of actor-turned-politician BJP MP Vinod Khanna, who had won by a 1.35 lakh vote margin, turned out to be a cakewalk for the Congress candidate and state unit chief, Sunil Kumar Jakhar.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the victory marks the “revival” of Congress in India.
“The #Gurdaspur by-election marks another major step in the revival of @INCIndia, it’s clear that party is on upswing ahead of 2019 LS polls”- read his tweet.
While Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar got 4,99,752 votes, his main rival, BJP’s Swarn Singh Salaria could garner 3,06,503 votes only. AAP ended up being a distant third, losing its deposit.
The previous record for the highest margin of victory in Gurdaspur was held by former Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, who had won with a margin of 1.51 lakh votes in 1980. Sunday’s landslide win for the Congress holds importance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with the party hailing it as the “people’s mandate” against the BJP.
The loss of BJP is worrying for Swaran Salaria who waited long for a chance to contest the Gurdaspur bypoll. Despite huge investment in terms of time and money, he now finds himself trailing, bringing into question the role played by former deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, who managed the poll campaign for the BJP-Akali Dal combine.
-with inputs from the Indian Express.