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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Rahul Gandhi just taking forward old legacy of multi-seat candidates

The Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may be taking potshots at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for planning to contest the Lok Sabha polls from two seats: Amethi in UP and Wayanad in Kerala, but records show that top leaders of most big political parties have done the same in the past

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 16, 2019 13:07 IST
K Sandeep Kumar
K Sandeep Kumar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Under section 33 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person is allowed to contest polls from a maximum of two seats.
Under section 33 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person is allowed to contest polls from a maximum of two seats.(HT Photo)
         

The Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may be taking potshots at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for planning to contest the Lok Sabha polls from two seats: Amethi in UP and Wayanad in Kerala, but records show that top leaders of most big political parties have done the same in the past.

The list of such leaders of different parties who have contested from more than one seat includes PM Narendra Modi, former PMs Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi as well as former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav among others, informs noted political analyst and former vice-chancellor of Allahabad University Prof Rajen Harshe.

Under section 33 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person is allowed to contest polls from a maximum of two seats. Before this law, candidates could run in any number of constituencies like Vajpayee who in 1957 while entering mainstream politics had contested from three seats --Lucknow, Mathura and Balrampur, added Prof Harshe, a former professor of political science at the Hyderabad Central University.

Another political commentator and former VC of Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University (UPRTOU) Prof MP Dube said that former CM of Odisha Biju Patnaik stands out among such candidates as he had indeed contested from four Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat at a go in 1971 and lost on all. “But later got elected in by-poll the same year,” he added.

But in 1996, when an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, restricted the number of seats one candidate could contest in one election to two, the practice of fighting from more than 2 seats finally stopped, he recalled.

But what happens when a politician wins both seats? In such a situation, they must vacate one within 10 days, necessitating a by-poll, as stated under section 70 of the Representation of the People Act, he explained.

Prof Dube said that the provision to allow politicians to contest from two seats have been challenged and objected to many a times on moral, economical and legal grounds in past. “With the Indian democracy maturing fast, coming years can witness a change in this trend with candidates being allowed to fight an election from just one seat at a time,” he maintained.

SOME PROMINENT TWO SEAT CONTESTANTS:

--In 1999, Sonia Gandhi contested from Bellary in Karnataka as well as Amethi in UP. In Bellary, she defeated BJP’s Sushma Swaraj. She then gave up the seat of Bellary to retain Amethi.

--PM Narendra Modi contested from Varanasi as well as Vadodara in Lok Sabha Polls-2014. After winning both seats, he retained Varanasi and gave up Vadodara.

--Having suffered a surprise defeat in Rae Bareli in 1977, former PM Indira Gandhi in 1980, contested from Medak (now in Telangana) and Rae Bareli. She won from both seats and gave up Medak.

--List of two seat fighters includes: Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Vidisha and Lucknow in 1991 besides Lucknow and Gandhi Nagar in 1996), LK Advani (New Delhi and Gandhinagar in 1991), Mulayam Singh Yadav (Azamgarh and Mainpuri in 2014), Akhilesh Yadav (Firizabad and Kannauj in2009) and Lalu Prasad Yadav (Saran and Pataliputra in 2009).

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 12:39 IST

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