As Congress heads for a massive win in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-polls, the Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums in the Congress-led Punjab Government, Navjot Singh Sidhu, on Sunday called the imminent win an early-Diwali gift for party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, while also confirming that the Gandhi scion is indeed all set to be the party president.
"This is a beautiful Diwali gift, packed with a red ribbon, for our would-be party president Shri Rahul Gandhi. It will be a shot in the arm for the Congress," Sidhu told reporters, as the counting of votes saw Congress leading by more than one lakh votes.
Sidhu also called the unassailable lead a "big slap" on the face of 'jija -saala' (Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and brother-in-law, Bikram Singh Majithia)
"This is a big slap on the jija-sala face, and its echo is sent across the country," he said.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance is set for a major defeat at the hands of the Congress.
"Today, the BJP must be feeling that the Akali Dal in Punjab, especially the 'jija-sala' have become a burden. Time and again, people have reprimanded them." Sidhu said, and added that it was a demoralising defeat.
"It has sent them packing," he added.
Sidhu averred that the Congress' win in the constituency is a signal sent across loud and clear, as the Gurdaspur constituency "was considered a BJP-Akali bastion."
"Now we need at least two to three years to show the people what our intention is, and determination is, and what we can bring on the ground," Sidhu added.
The six-month-old government of the Congress fielded veteran leader Sunil Jhakar to contest the by-elections against the BJP-SAD candidate, businessman Swaran Salaria and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, Retired Major Genral Suresh Khajuria.
The Gurdaspur parliamentary seat has nine assembly segments -- Bhoa, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Dinanagar, Qadian, Fathegarh Churian, Dera Baba Nanak, Sujanpur and Batala.
The Lok Sabha by-elections held on October 11 were necessitated after the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant following the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna.
Khanna represented the constituency from 1998 to 2004, and later from 2004 until his death in April this year.