The Congress on Sunday won the bye-election to the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab. The party’s candidate Sunil Jakhar won the seat by 1,93,219 votes, ANI reported.

The ruling party in the state had taken an early lead, soon after counting began on Sunday. morning. As the Congress took a lead of over one lakh votes, party workers took to the streets to celebrate. Jakhar told ANI that the numbers were a message for the Narendra Modi government.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Congress will fulfil “every single promise made” and “all development works will be fast-tracked”. Opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sukhpal Singh Khaira, said the party “humbly accepted the verdict of Gurdaspur”.

The Congress won 4,99,752 votes, the Bharatiya Janata Party came in second with 3,06,533 votes, and AAP trailed with 23,579, ANI reported.

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“It’s a Diwali gift for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who will soon take over the party reins,” state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told reporters. “We have sent a beautiful Diwali gift packed with a red ribbon to our would-be president Rahul Gandhi because it sets the tone...It will be a shot in the arm for the Congress.”

The Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party were the primary contestants for the seat, which fell vacant after the death of actor and BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April.

The Congress came to power in Punjab after the Assembly elections in March. The bye-election is being seen as a test for the party’s popularity in the state.

Earlier, Jakhar had said that the bye-poll would be a “referendum” for the Modi government. The BJP had campaigned hard to retain the parliamentary seat, which Khanna had won four times.

The high-stakes Gurdaspur bye-poll recorded a 56% turnout on October 11, lower than the 70.03% recorded in the 2014 general elections.

The bye-poll results come ahead of Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.