The main opposition Aam Aadmi Party suffered a rout in the Gurdaspur bypoll with its candidate Major Gen Suresh Khajuria (retired) losing his security deposit and the party losing a massive share of votes as compared to the 2014 general elections for the same constituency.
The party could only manage to get a total of 23,579 votes from the nine Assembly constituencies part of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat. The figure is a fraction of the 1,73,376 votes it received when Sucha Singh Chhotepur was the party candidate in the 2014 polls.
The near total rout of the party in the Majha region has sounded alarm bells in AAP and even before the results were announced, the party leadership announced the dissolution of the Gurdaspur and Pathankot district units. The party leadership in the state tried to put up a brave face after the humiliating defeat and tried to assert that the bypoll was not a true reflection of the mood of the people. The president of the state unit, Bhagwant Mann, said that the result in Gurdaspur could not be taken as a general trend for the 2019 general elections as the political equations keep changing with time.
Mann said that due to paucity of resources, AAP could not get its message across to the voters of Gurdaspur, but it was clear that the people have at least rejected the policies of the Modi government in the centre.
The Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Khaira, too accepted defeat in the election, but said that the track record of Punjab byelections indicates that it is the ruling party which always wins these elections. Khaira said that the party would soon convene a meeting and introspect into the causes of defeat and will try to take best corrective measures. He appealed to the rank and file of AAP not to loose heart or be demoralised as “victory and losses are part of life”.