CM Amarinder hails Congress victory in Punjab bypolls

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. PTI Photo

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday hailed the Congress victory in the assembly bypolls and termed the SAD defeat in Jalalabad as the rejection of their "negative agenda".

"The Akalis clearly failed to learn a lesson from their previous electoral defeats and continued to engage in negative campaigning, including the politicisation of religion," Amarinder Singh said, adding that their defeat in Sukhbir Badal's "self-proclaimed stronghold" of Jalalabad was a "total rejection of their negative agenda".

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People had made it clear that there was no place for the parties who did not work for their welfare, he said in a statement here after the Congress emerged victorious in Phagwara, Mukerian, and Jalalabad assembly segments.

The Shiromani Akali Dal bagged the Dakha seat.

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Stressing that the results once again exposed the "hollowness" of the Akali claims, the CM said ,"The referendum, as the Akalis had been keen on dubbing these byelections, was clearly not in their favour, and the people of Punjab had once again denounced SAD's unconstructive policies."

He said though he did not look at the polls as a referendum on his regime, which had already fulfilled the bulk of its promises, people of Punjab had shown what they wanted from their government.

If the Akalis looked at it as a referendum, then they have got their answer from people, he added.

The chief minister congratulated all Congress workers in Punjab for working hard as a united force to make the party's continued run of poll victories possible.

While describing the party's defeat in Dakha "unfortunate", the chief minister lauded candidate Sandeep Sandhu for giving a tough fight in his first election.

"I had wanted and aimed at winning all four seats in these bypolls but one can't win 100 per cent," he said.

The losing candidates should not take such failures to heart, he said, recalling that he had also lost his first two elections.

He expressed confidence that like Jalalabad, Dakha too would eventually realise that Congress alone could ensure its development and progress.

After suffering for 10 years, the people of Punjab wanted to look forward towards an era of growth and had categorically rejected the "divisive and regressive" policies of the opposition, said Amarinder.

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