What's in a name? Ahoy, a lot! As many as 13 independents in Punjab and Haryana are contending with their namesakes from major parties for entry into Parliament, creating confusion among sections of voters.
In nine out of 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab and two of ten in Haryana, these independents share the names, if not fate, with contenders from the Congress, SAD, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Haryana Janhit Congress.
Singer-turned-politician and SAD candidate from Jalandhar, Hans Raj Hans is facing independent nominee Hans Raj.
Former Punjab Congress chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee is not just locked in a battle against Hans but against two independent candidates with the name Mohinder Singh as well.
Sitting SAD MP from Sangrur constituency, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who is fighting against Congress nominee Vijay Inder Singla, has also to slog out against two of his namesakes.
Though voters are amused with namesakes fighting against one another, main contenders may feel the heat. Political observers say sections of the electorate, which are not educated enough to make the distinction through party symbols, may end up voting for candidates they would otherwise not support.
They added that some of these independents are in the fray just to create confusion among the not-so-educated people and eat into the votes of their namesakes from major political parties.
Nevertheless, these namesakes are adding some hue and colour to the entire poll exercise, they admitted.
In Ferozepur, both key contenders -- Jagmeet Singh of the Congress and SAD's Sher Singh Ghubiaya have rivals with the same names as theirs.
While SAD's Gurcharan Singh Ghalib is contesting against his namesake from Ludhiana, Congress nominee Sukhwinder Singh from Faridkot is battling against another Sukhwinder Singh.
In Kahdoor, sitting MP Rana Gurjit Singh will also have to face another Gurjit Singh.
In Haryana, INLD General Secretary and sitting MP from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Ajay Singh is facing an independent Ajay Singh apart from Shruti Choudhary of the Congress and 27 others.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal is locked in the battle of ballot from Hisar against not only Congress nominee Jai Parkash but also independent contender Bhajan Lal.