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Double role: 56 MCD wards have candidates with the same names

With as many 56 wards in MCD elections having candidates with same names, parties have instructed candidates to make their serial number clear to voters to avoid confusion.

MCD Elections 2017 Updated: Apr 22, 2017 23:28 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times
MCD elections,MCD candidates,Delhi news
One in every five wards has at least two people with the same name contesting the MCD election. (Sonu Mehta/HT FILE)

This MCD polls, one in every five wards has at least two people with the same name contesting. Hindustan Times, after going through the complete list of candidates of the 272 wards across the three corporations, found out that 56 wards have at least two people with the same name contesting in Sunday’s election. Voting for the 272 wards across the city will be held on Sunday.

In east Delhi’s Brahm Puri, three Raj Kumars are vying for the councillor seat — one is a BJP candidate, another has been nominated by CPI, while the third is an Independent. In south civic body’s Manglapuri, BJP’s Krishan Kumar Godara is competing against Independent Krishan Mohan Pandey and Congress’ Maya Devi will figure on the ballot with an independent candidate also named Maya. In the same ward, two Independent candidates named Vijay will also be competing.

Political pundits say this is not a unique phenomenon and is used by political parties to cut votes of their opponents.

Sanjay Kumar, director at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said this is a negative strategy used by rival political parties.

“These candidates with similar names are proxy candidates. They are used to cut votes. Now people with similar names are plotted as a dummy candidate to create some sort of confusion so that votes for a candidate, usually from an established political party, get divided.

According to him, in smaller election, where the number of votes is less, this strategy becomes effective.

In north Delhi’s Kadipur, Congress’ Neetu Singh is fighting against two other Independent candidates named Neetu.

When HT caught up with the Congress candidate on Friday, she was busy with last minute campaigning. “It might be so. We are not aware of it. We are pushing hard in the final couple of hours to reach as many voters as possible,” one of her aides said, when asked about her two namesake competitors.

Even after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the AAP candidate for the West Delhi seat, Jarnail Singh, had alleged that two other candidates sharing his name had cost him the seat as it confused the voters.

Although Singh lost to BJP’s Pravesh Verma by a margin of 2,68,586 votes, he claimed that the other two Jarnail Singhs — who together bagged 90,682 votes — queered the pitch for him. The two Jarnail Singhs, one with the symbol of a shuttlecock and another with the torch symbol, bagged 84,722 and 5,960 votes, respectively.

Parties, however, are aware of this “strategy” and have been asking candidates to make their serial number clear to voters of their respective wards. A Delhi BJP spokesperson, Harish Khurana, said all party candidates have been sensitised on how to tackle the confusion because of these namesakes.

“We have been guiding all candidates to clearly mention their serial number in every poster and pamphlet so that there remains no confusion regarding who the people are voting for. I have personally suffered due to this. My father, Madan Lal Khurana, had a namesake in a Lok Sabha election who took away 16,000 votes with a tree sign,” Khurana said.

The party’s Subhash Nagar candidate Gagan Deep Sahni says another Gagan Sahni is contesting as an Independent with a cauliflower sign.

“I am popularly known as Gagan Sahni and the other parties have used that by fielding this dummy candidate. I have asked voters to not get confused and vote for the right man with the correct symbol and serial number,” Sahni said.

First Published: Apr 22, 2017 12:53 IST