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Last Updated Wednesday July 15 2020 06:01 PM IST

Congress wrests Gurdaspur from BJP

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Counting for Gurdaspur by-poll Congress leaders and workers started celebrating the impending victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets in Gurdaspur, Chandigarh and other places.

Gurdaspur: Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar on Sunday 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, poll official said.

Aam Aadmi Party nominee Major General (Retd) Suresh Khajuria was at the third sport 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 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.

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," he said.

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

"Congratulations to @sunilkjakhar ji for his impressive win in #Gurdaspur bypoll, it's a victory for @INCPunjab policies & development agenda," Amarinder tweeted.

After the trends suggesting massive lead for 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 realize that Akali Dal in Punjab has become a burden. Time and again people have reprimanded them. It will be demoralizing and send them (SAD-BJP) packing," said Sidhu.

Both the BJP and the AAP accused the Congress of misusing official machinery to win the by-poll.

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

AAP candidate maj. gen. (Retd) Suresh 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.

What triggered a sweep in favor of Cong

This is the first electoral test after the Amarinder Singh government took over in Punjab. The Congress can flaunt this as a tipping point of a much needed resurgence of its political fortunes. The Amarinder government's efforts to curb the drug menace, which was a key issue in the Assembly polls, is bearing fruit. The Congress government has also won the trust of the farming community through its loan waivers. The administration has also made the police force more effective and has gone down well with the electorate, which has overturned a more than 1 lakh vote majority to the BJP in 2014 to a near-2 lakh majority for the Congress.

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