Every election has only one winner, but there are always several candidates who suffer the ignominy of having their security deposits forfeited.
In the 2009 parliamentary elections in Punjab, all candidates not belonging to the three major political parties — the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress — had to face this embarrassment.
Interestingly, in some of the 13 constituencies, such candidates bagged close to or more than 1 lakh votes but still had to forfeit their security deposits — as they failed to fulfil the mandatory condition of getting at least one-sixth of the total valid votes polled in the parliamentary constituency.
Most of the contestants who had lost their security deposits despite getting about 1 lakh votes belonged to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), besides then Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, now SAD senior vice-president, who had secured 1.15 lakh votes from Sangrur parliamentary seat to finish third.
As per data with the Election Commission, in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, as many as 192 candidates in 13 parliamentary constituencies of Punjab had forfeited their deposits. The biggest number of these candidates was in Ludhiana parliamentary seat (28 out of 30), followed by Ferozepur (25 out of 27); Khadoor Sahib and Faridkot (both 13 out of 15); Amritsar and Patiala (12 out of 14); Gurdaspur (11 out of 13); and Fatehgarh Sahib (9 out of 11). In Hoshiarpur constituency, 10 out of 12 contestants who lost their deposits collectively had got 1.25 lakh votes, including 1.03 lakh votes polled by the BSP candidate. Here, the margin of victory was merely 366 votes (The seat was won by Congress’ Santosh Chowdhary, who beat her nearest rival Som Parkash of the BJP).
In Anandpur Sahib constituency, 12 of the 14 candidates forfeited their deposit. But these candidates had collectively polled 1.62 lakh votes, including 1.18 lakh votes polled by the BSP nominee.
In the politically sensitive constituency of Bathinda, 28 contestants out of 30 failed to get the mandatory vote share required for saving the deposits. They had secured a total of around 1.1 lakh votes, whereas the margin of victory was 1.21 lakh votes.
In Sangrur parliamentary constituency, about 2.55 lakh votes were secured by 14 candidates whose deposits were forfeited, including Ramoowalia. Here, the margin of victory was 40,872 votes. In Ferozepur and Faridkot, votes secured by such candidates collectively were more than the respective victory margin.