Gurdaspur bypoll: Punjab Congress president, three-time MLA Sunil Jakhar trounces BJP, AAP

As the counting of votes in the Gurdaspur by-election comes to a close on Sunday, Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar has won the election by well over one lakh votes over his nearest rival, BJP's Swaran Salaria.

As Jakhar's victory drew closer in the bypoll necessitated by Vinod Khanna's death, he said on Sunday that the counting trends show the people's resentment towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies, according to media reports.

Jakhar is a seasoned politician from Punjab, having been a member of the state's Legislative Assembly three times in the past from Abohar. He was appointed the Punjab Congress chief in May, and is a close confidant of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

 Gurdaspur bypoll: Punjab Congress president, three-time MLA Sunil Jakhar trounces BJP, AAP

File image of Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar. Twitter@sunilkjakhar

Last month, Jakhar beat former Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa’s wife Charanjit Kaur Bajwa to the nomination as state party chief, though Bajwa was said to be bargaining hard for the seat, according to The Tribune.

Jakhar was the leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha between 2012 and 2017.

Jakhar had lost the last Assembly election held earlier in 2017, and the 2014 parliamentary election from Ferozepur, according to Hindustan Times. After long rounds of discussion with Sonia Gandhi, Amarinder Singh went ahead to give Jakhar the ticket for the Gurdaspur bypoll because of the strong support he enjoyed from the majority of Congress' rank and file, the report said.

In the last Punjab Assembly elections, Jakhar had lost to relatively inexperienced Arun Narang of the BJP from his pocket borough of Abohar, The Times of India reported. However, Jakhar continued to be a key non-Jat leader of the party in the region, the report added.

Jakhar is not new to politics as he comes from a family of long political history.

His father, farmer-turned politician Balram Jakhar, served twice as the speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1980 to 1989. He also served as Union agriculture minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government, and later as the Madhya Pradesh governor during the first UPA government, a Hindustan Times report stated.

Jakhar's brother, Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, is also a senior leader of the Congress in Punjab and has served as the vice-president of Punjab Congress in the past.


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Updated Date: Oct 15, 2017 13:27:40 IST