Gurdaspur Lok Sabha By-election: Congress wins prestige battle and bragging rights

Frederick Owens
October 16, 2017

Earlier, Sunil Jakhar, Candidate from congress side won the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll by defeating his nearest rival, BJP nominee Swaran Salaria, with a huge margin of 1,93,219 votes.

But the outcome of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byelection, particularly the severity of its drubbing, is a humiliating blow for the infighting-ridden party that was looking at the high-stake battle as a chance to redeem itself.

The Gurdaspur LS bypoll result was interpreted as the continued decline of the BJP-SAD in Punjab, after it had lost the Assembly election in March this year. Notably, the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat had gone vacant after death of BJP affiliated Vinod Khanna due to cancer in April this year. Mr. Khaira said that the Congress party under the leadership of Capt. Amarinder Singh badly lost 10 of these by elections and was able to win only one seat of Patiala his hometown.

The actor's wife Kavita Khanna was among the front- runners for the BJP ticket, but the party chose businessman Salaria over her.

"The BJP must read the writing on the wall now", Jakhar said after his emphatic win and added that the "people have rejected the BJP and shown mirror to the Akalis". Even as the BJP faced defeat in the party stronghold Gurdaspur, which it had represented since 1998, the party's alliance with SAD came under attack from Congress.

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Salaria, who has a controversial past, could not woo the voters even in the name of Prime Minister Modi or with his claim to being a "local" in Gurdaspur. Suresh Khajuria was at the third spot with 23,579 votes. "He has been a four-term MP from there", said Singh.

Announcing the decision, AAP's state secretary Gulshan Chhabra attributed the decision to "extensive deliberations and feedback" from the state president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann and co-incharge Aman Arora, an MLA from Sunam.

A total 8,59,462 votes were polled in the bypoll and 7,587 voters opted for the None of the Above (NOTA) option.

Almost 56 percent of the 15.22 lakh voter cast their votes in the October 11 by-election.

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