The “Rai-Sikh card” failed to play the trick for the SAD, which on Thursday suffered a major setback as it lost the Jalalabad Assembly bypoll by a margin of around 16,500 votes to the Congress.

The seat was hitherto being represented by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal since 2009 when he was first elected from this place.

The elections were necessitated after Sukhbir got elected to the Lok Sabha from the Ferozepur Parliamentary seat.

While the Congress had nominated a young turk, Raminder Awla, the former president of the Punjab Youth Congress, the SAD preferred to place its bet on Rai Sikh leader Dr Raj Singh Dibbipura as his community had a large chunk of votes in this segment.

However, the Congress was able to break into this votebank besides gaining a huge lead in the urban area. Most of the prominent Congress leaders including former minister Hans Raj Jossan, former MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, Malkeet Hira, Mohan Singh Phalianwala, Cabinet Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and others, who were earlier at loggerheads, worked in unison this time to defeat SAD.

The Congress worked on an effective and organized campaign in stark contrast to SAD strategy which was hinging on support for Sukhbir besides Harsimrat Badal and Bikramjit Singh Majithia. The Congress took early lead right from completion of first round and maintained it till the end.