Punjab’s ruling Congress celebrated an early Diwali here on Sunday as it dislodged the BJP from its stronghold of Gurdaspur in the Lok Sabha by-elections.
With the main opposition party AAP also in the running, the triangular contest was seen as a prestige battle for the ruling party, which won the assembly elections in the state six months ago.
State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who trounced BJP’s Swaran Salaria by nearly 2 lakh votes, said it was a “referendum” on the NDA rule at the Centre. The people of Gurdaspur, he said, had sent a “strong message of their resentment” to policies pursued by the Centre.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was among the first to congratulate Mr Jakhar.