Akali Dal wins Punjab assembly by-poll by big margin

Chandigarh, Feb 16 (IANS) The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday convincingly won the Khadoor Sahib assembly by-election in Punjab.

Akali Dal candidate Ravinder Singh Brahmpura defeated his nearest rival by a margin of 65,664 votes, election department officials said here.

He polled 83,080 out of the 107,341 votes polled. His nearest rival, Bhupinder Singh, an independent candidate, polled 17,416 votes. There were seven candidates in the fray.

Brahmpura led through all 15 rounds of counting of votes, which began at 8 a.m.

As many as 58 percent of the over 1.87 lakh electorate had cast their votes in the by-poll.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the result of the Khadoor Sahib by-election as a “massive victory of positive agenda of peace, communal harmony, brotherhood and development in the state”.

The polls were held on February 13 amidst a boycott of the election by Congress and AAP, making it a one-sided contest for the Akali Dal.

However, the Akali Dal leadership is seeing the by-poll victory as a sign of Akali Dal’s preparedness for Punjab’s assembly elections early next year.

The seat fell vacant after sitting Congress legislator Ramanjit Singh Sikki resigned in October 2015 over last year’s incidents of sacrilege of Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in Punjab and the state government failing to contain such incidents.

The candidate winning the Khadoor Sahib seat in the by-election will remain a legislator for only about one year as assembly elections to 117 seats in Punjab will be held in February 2017.

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