Buoyed by his stunning win, Congress leader Sunil Jakhar has said the saffron party must read the writing on the wall now. He made this statement after having trounced the BJP’s nominee in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypolls. Jakhar, who is the chief of Punjab Congress, defeated his nearest rival BJP nominee Swaran Salaria with a margin of 1,93,219 votes, poll official said.
“The BJP must read the writing on the wall now,” Jakhar said after his emphatic win, according to a report by PTI.
“People have rejected the BJP and also shown mirror to (their ally) the Akalis,” he said. As such the Akalis were wiped out six months ago when they were relegated to the third place in the Punjab assembly elections, he said.
The Jakhar clan, a Hindu Jat family, is quite at home in central politics as Sunil’s father, Balram Jakhar who died last year at 92, had the rare distinction of being Lok Sabha speaker for two successive terms from 1980 to 1989. One an Indira Gandhi loyalist, he also served as Union agriculture minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government (1991-96), and then moved to governorship during the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
“Now, I think this (Gurdaspur win of Congress) will be the beginning of disintegration of SAD because nobody has seen Prakash Singh Badal for the last six months. The new leadership under Sukhbir Singh Badal is on the verge of disintegration. I think the entire SAD is going to be reformed under some new leadership, I believe,” Jakhar said.
To a question, Jakhar said Sukhbir Badal and other Akali Dal leaders had all along been saying that Gurdaspur bypolls will be a referendum on the six-month-old Congress government.
“Now, Sukhbir will have to eat his own words.Where will Akalis go and hide their faces now, people have reaffirmed their faith in the leadership of Amarinder Singh and at the same time expressed anguish at the NDA government led by Narendra Modi,” Jakhar said. Jakhar also gave credit for his victory to the people and Congress workers who tirelessly worked over the past several weeks to enable him register a thumping win. “This victory is also a victory of the Congress party, this win is a win of Amarinder Singh’s leadership as people have reaffirmed their faith in him,” he said. To a query, Jakhar said people of Gurdaspur had rejected the ‘outsider card’ which the opposition parties in Punjab had tried to play against him as he did not belong to Gurdaspur. “I am thankful to people who gave me their overwhelming love and support. I thank the people for placing their trust in me and my party under the leadership of Amarinder Singh and the would-be president Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Crediting the people of Gurdaspur for the victory, Congress workers, senior leadership and chief minister Amarinder Singh for his huge win, Jakhar said he was well aware of the responsibilities this victory carries.
“I am very well aware of the responsibilities this victory carries and I think I will be quite able to raise people’s concerns in Parliament,” Jakhar said.
It was an early Diwali at the Congress office as party workers distributed sweets in Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.
At Gurdaspur, Congress workers celebrated by distributing ‘laddoos’ as some workers could be seen dancing.