General elections a Waterloo for independents
It has been a Waterloo for an overwhelming number of independents without exception since the first Lok Sabha election with thousands of them losing their deposits.
The 13th Lok Sabha witnessed as many as 1945 independents in the fray of which only a mere six got elected while 1928 forfeited their deposits.
Official statistics showed that in Uttar Pradesh, which had 85l Lok Sabha seats, as many as 610 independents had entered the fray and out of 608 lost their deposits.
In Tamil Nadu, which is dominated by Dravidian politics, 198 independents had entered the fray and all of them lost their deposits. Similarly, Bihar which has 187 independents, 185 lost their deposits.
It was a similar story in 1998 polls where only six emerged victorious out of 1915 non-party candidates in the fray and as many as 1898 lost their deposits.
The 1996 general elections had the dubious distinction of having a record of 10,635 independents of which 10,603 lost their money while only nine could reach the winning post.
This, in a way, resulted in the raising of the security deposit, which was some few hundreds earlier to rs 10,000 for a Parliament seat and Rs 5,000 for an Assembly seat.
Now, the Election Commission is keen on dissuading non-serious candidates and had recommended to the government to double the security deposit amount to Rs 20,000 for a Lok Sabha seat and Rs 10,000 for assembly seats.
The number of non-serious candidates in the fray had, in fact, had come down after the increase in the deposit, EC spokesman AN Jha said.
The highest strike rate of independents was in 1957 when as many as 73 independents had got elected out a total of 667 in the fray and only 342 of them had lost their deposits.
But the least number of independents was in 1962 where out 480 such candidtes in the fray, 20 had reached the winning post.
The least number of independents -- five each -- were elected in 1984 and 1991 when the forfeiture of deposits was almost 99 per cent.