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Cake walks & close calls

How close or wide can a parliamentary election contest get? Nine votes and 5,92,000, according to Election Commission data. Satyen Mohapatra reports.

india Updated: May 14, 2009 22:57 IST
Satyen Mohapatra

How close or wide can a parliamentary election contest get? Nine votes and 5,92,000, according to Election Commission data.

Ever since the country’s first Lok Sabha elections in 1952, there have been two occasions when a candidate won by just nine votes — the smallest margin of victory till now.

The first occasion was in 1989 when Congress nominee K. Ramakrishna defeated the Telugu Desam Party’s P. Appalarasimham by nine votes in the Anakapalli constituency of Andhra Pradesh.

The second time, the BJP’s Som Marandi won by nine votes from Bihar’s Rajmahal (ST) constituency the same year, beating the Congress’ Thomas Hansda.

Among the narrowest margins, the Congress’ Satyajit Sinh Gaekwad won the Baroda seat in 1989 by defeating his BJP rival, Jitendra Ratilal Sukhadia, by just 17 votes.

If this is the closest margin of victory in India’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the CPI-M’s Anil Basu holds the record for winning by the biggest margin.

Contesting from the Arambagh seat in West Bengal, Basu defeated his nearest rival by 5,92,000 votes in 2004.

This was much higher than even Ram Vilas Paswan’s victory margin of 5,04,448 in 1989 from Hajipur constituency.

It is not only candidates belonging to major political parties who have trounced their with opponents with humiliating victory margins. Bodo leader S.K. Bwiswmuthiary fought as an Independent in the 2004 elections from Kokrajhar, Assam and won. He polled 4,84,129 more votes than his nearest rival. The Bodo leader got 6,89,620 votes while his rival Sabda Ram Rabha, also an Independent, polled 2,05,491 votes.