Gurdaspur, October 16 (Indian Express): Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar has won the Gurdaspur by-electionin the Punjab with huge margin of 1,93,219 votes defeating Bhartiya Janta Party candidate Sawarn Singh Salaria.
Jakhar got 4,99,752 votes against 3,06,553 votes casted for runner up Salaria. AAP candidate Suresh Khajuria couldn’t save his security deposit with a total of 23,579 votes that he got.
Jakhar’s victory margin is huge as voter turnout was only 56% against 70% witnessed in 2014 polls on the same seat when Vinod Khanna defeated Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa with a margin of 1.36 lakh votes.
The seat was vacant after Khanna’s death earlier this year.
The record for biggest margin of victory on this seat uptil now was with former Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder who won with a margin of 1.51 lakh votes in 1980.
Jakhar won all 10 assembly constituencies that fall in Gurdaspur parliamentary seat which was won by BJP candidate Vinod Khanna in 2014.
The Congress had won eight of these ten seats in 2017 assembly elections.
Dera Baba Nanak assembly constituency turned out to be an advantage for Congress party as it’s candidate won it with a handsome margin of 44,074 votes.
Gurdaspur is a Hindu dominated parliamentary constituency and the Congress candidate had also asked for votes for the alleged failure of the Union government on demonitization and GST issues.
The Congress candidate was always a favorite in this election. But the big margin of victory could turn out to be an embarrassment for BJP.
After winning elections, Jakhar said “I had said it from the very first day that this election will be a mandate on the policies of Union government led by Modi. People have given vent their anger against demonitization and GST by making me an MP with a huge margin of votes. I had asked people to vote for me against BJP’s economic and communal agenda. People have responded to my call and it has sent a clear message to the Union government on behalf of the whole country that people are fed up of its policies and it is time for change.”
He said “This election is also a victory for the development agenda of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh-led state government. The waiver of farmers’ loan and steps to revive the economy of Punjab. People have honored Congress government for work done in the last six months in the state.”
BJP candidate Salaria said, “I congratulate Sunil Jakhar on his victory. At the same time, everyone knows that Congress has won this election by rigging. Government machinery was misused to influence voters. All the officials were given targets. There was a clear warning for the people that they would be implicated in false police cases if they vote for BJP.”
AAP candidate Khajuria repeated the party’s stand on EVMs. “Congress has done everything to win this election. They have tampered with EVM machines. They have used the police to keep voters at home.”
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that the victory meant the total rejection of the anti-people policies of the BJP and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“The massive win for Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar shows the people’s complete denunciation of the corrupt and immoral BJP and SAD,” said Captain Amarinde Singh.
(The featured picture at the top shows Congress workers in Gurdaspur celebrating their victory over the BJP)