SAD sweeps Punjab bypolls, maiden win for Sukhbir Badal

Written by Political Bureau | Jalalabad, Chandigarh | Updated: Aug 8 2009, 04:25am hrs
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal made his maiden entry into the Punjab Assembly by defeating Congress candidate Hans Raj Josan by a record 80,662 votes in Jalalabad, as his party swept the bypolls in the state winning all the three seats.

We have also swept the polls in Kahnuwan and Banur, so the voters seem to have once again reposed faith in us after the Lok Sabha elections, said an elated Sukhbir.

Asked when and to what post he would be sworn in he was deputy chief minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government before he resigned in July after failing to get elected within six months of being sworn in Sukhbir replied: It is for the chief minister to decide what post he will give me.

Meanwhile, party sources said Sukhbir was likely to change his constituency next time as over 50,000 Rai Sikh voters, traditional supporters of the SAD, have shifted to Fazilka after delimitation.

Josan blamed the SAD victory on booth capturing. The Akali Dal captured 32 booths and hence more than 28,000 votes were cast as per their will. It was not a fair election. But I fought till the end. Josan admitted that Congress leaders did not campaign for him and this had a negative impact in

the seat.

With Thursdays victory, the strength of SAD MLAs in the 117-member Assembly has risen to 51. While the BJP has 19 MLAs, the Congress has 42. Five are independents.