After a massive win in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, the Congress on Sunday said that it was looking at the victory as “beginning of revival of the grand old party” at the national level. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, while addressing the media after party nominee Sunil Jakhar’s victory, said, “When the BJP came to power in 2014, it was winning all universities. Now, the Congress is winning the university elections. It won Gurdaspur with a record margin. We will win Himachal Pradesh also. The winds of change are clear.”
Jakhar, addressing the media jointly with Amarinder, compared the Gurdaspur victory to Indira Gandhi’s Chikmagalur win in 1979. “Gurdaspur win is like a foundation stone of Congress victory in 2019.” In Jalandhar, Health & Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra also made the same comparison. Interacting with the media, the minister recalled that Congress had lost elections from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in 1977 and even Indira Gandhi had lost her seat then. However, he said that after one year, Indira Gandhi contested the bypoll from Chikmagalur constituency and won with a thumping majority, which set the stage for the return of Congress in 1980. Mohindra said that history would repeat itself and Gurdaspur would be modern-day Chikmagalur.
As Jakhar called the mandate a stamp on Amarinder’s leadership, the CM gave credit to the team work of party workers and MLAs, along with the choice of a good candidate in Jakhar, for the victory. The Chief Minister also said he would discuss the Cabinet expansion with AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi soon. He clarified that no cases were being registered against farmers for stubble burning.
Amarinder pointed out that AAP’s Sucha Singh Chhotepur had in 2014 Lok Sabha election polled nearly 2 lakh votes but the same party had now been reduced to its candidate even losing his security deposit. Attributing the relatively low voter turnout to the ongoing paddy season, Amarinder said the Gurdaspur bypoll result underlined the downfall of the BJP and further strengthened the Congress party’s reverse trend, which began with the latter’s sweep in recent university students’ union elections.
While the Gurdaspur result reflected the impact of GST and demonetisation, it also showed that the people were fed of the Akalis, whose leaders had been campaigning in the Lok Sabha constituency in support of the BJP candidate, said Amarinder. Jakhar, while claiming that that the Akali leadership was defeated due to their anti-people mindset, added that the poll result would mark the beginning of the end of the SAD-BJP alliance.