Chandigarh, May 31 (PTI) The margin of around 38,000 votes with which Shahkot bypoll was won by the ruling party today came as a surprise even to many in the Congress, a senior party leader said. Also Read - Bikram Singh Majithia Predicts Congress Candidates Will Lose in LS Polls

Everybody was confident of winning the polls by about a 25,000 vote margin but a few like cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa were talking of winning by more than 40,000 votes, Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar said here. Also Read - Sidhu, Majithia exchange barbs, SAD burn photos of Sidhu's Pak visit

“We were expecting a winning margin of 20,000 to 25,000 votes. The margin of 38,000 votes is really something else. This margin is really unexpected,” said Jakhar. Also Read - Former judge Ranjit Singh files criminal complaint against Sukhbir Badal, Majithia

Amarinder Singh while thanking the people of Shahkot for the victory of Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi in the bypoll said the party was not expecting the kind of margin with which it won the electoral battle.

We are thankful to all the voters of Shahkot for supporting the party during the scorching heat, he said.

“The result which has come today is outstanding. We also did not think that we will go that far. But it happened because people reposed confidence in Congress and its policies and programme which were framed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

Congress candidate Hardev Singh Ladi trounced nearest rival Shiromani Akali Dal nominee Naib Singh Kohar by a margin of 38,802 votes.

Ladi got 82,747 votes while Akali candidate Kohar polled 43,945 votes, an official spokesman of election office said.

“I think people were really voted not only for the Congress party and policies being implemented by Captain Amarinder Singh but they also seemed to have rejected the leadership of Akali Dal. I think it reflects poorly on Sukhbir’s leadership,” said Jakhar.

This is a consecutive defeat of Akali Dal after Gurdaspur Lok Sabha poll and MC polls, said Jakhar.

“The Akali Dal has been winning the Shahkot Assembly constituency for the last 20 years. And now they have been totally decimated,” he said.

Shahkot was considered an Akali Dal’s pocket borough from where late Ajit Singh Kohar was elected five-times in a row.

To retain the seat, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia aggressively campaigned in Shahkot for several days.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.