Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party may have run into the Election Commission (EC) quite a few times during the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, but the poll panel now has only the Modi wave to thank for raking in the mullah worth a few crores.
This is because the ‘wave’, which saw the BJP winning a majority on its own for the first time and by huge margins too, has sent most of the serious and non-serious candidates into the sea, making them lose their deposits in the process.
A case in point is the small state of Jharkhand with just 14 parliamentary seats. The poll body has made a killing of `42,12,500 on account of forfeited deposits of 209 candidates out of 240 in the fray for the 14 seats.
The commission got `32 lakh on account of 128 general candidates losing their deposits of `25,000 each, and another `10,12,500 on account of 81 Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates losing deposits of `12,500 each in Jharkhand.
“We won’t have to return `42.12 lakh as 128 out of 144 general candidates and 81 out of 96 SC/ST candidates have forfeited their deposits after failing to garner 1/6th or 16.67% vote share of the total valid votes polled in the 14 constituencies,” PK Jajoria, Jharkhand chief election officer, told HT.
And how big the ‘wave’ was is evident in Jamshedpur LS seat, where 13 out of 15 candidates lost their deposits, delivering `3, 37,500 to the EC’s kitty. The only exception is JVM-P’s Dr Ajay Kumar, who garnered 3,64,270 votes. Even third placed JMM’s Niroop Mahanty could not save his deposit despite garnering 1,38,109 votes -much below the one-sixth threshold of 1,74, 853 votes against total valid votes of 10,49,122 polled here.
This is just the tip of iceberg of the killing the EC has made this election, with over 90% of the 8,251 candidates in 543 Lok Sabha seats losing their deposits, including major parties like Congress that had fielded 462 candidates but could win only 44 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that had put 424 candidates but could only manage four seats.