It may the oldest and dirtiest trick in the book of electoral politics. But, in the 2014 Lok Sabha election the idea of fielding the namesakes of prominent leaders to cut into their votes failed to do the trick, at least in Uttar Pradesh.
The only exception, perhaps, was the Sultanpur from where an Independent, Varun Gandhi, tried his luck against BJP national general secretary Feroze Varun Gandhi (34). The Independent candidate secured 14,021 against the winning candidate BJP leader’s 4,10,348.
Hailing from Haryana, the namesake Varun Gandhi is distributor of a mineral water brand and had come to Sultanpur only to get his name registered in record books as one who contested against a member of the ‘Gandhi Family’. The 30-year-old is enrolled as voter in Haryana’s Rewari and had campaigned for only six days in Sultanpur. He polled more votes than the candidates fielded by the AAP and Quami Ekta Dal and stood fifth out of 15 in fray.
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In the high-profile Varanasi constituency, which elected BJP’s prime minister-in-waiting Narendra Modi, at least other ‘Narendras’ were in fray. While Narendra Nath Debey Adig of Jan Shakti Ekta Party polled 2,277 votes, Independent candidate Narendra bahadur Singh got 1,306 votes.
Bollywood actress Hema Malini who won from Mathura as BJP candidate, also faced the challenge from another Hema Malini. The namesake Hema Malini, a candidate of Peace Party, secured 10,158 votes while AAP candidate trailed behind her. This Hema Malini is a housewife and her husband is a taxi driver.
In Etah, BJP’s Rajveer Singh, who has won the election, faced another Rajveer Singh (59), an Independent candidate, who polled 5,848 votes.
Apna Dal candidate Harvansh Singh contested in Pratapgarh in alliance with BJP and recorded an unexpected win. But another Harvansh Singh – an Independent —- in fray from the same seat too polled 5,618 votes.
Congress candidate Nawab Kazim Ali Khan alias Naved Mian lost the election in Rampur and stood at third place. Another Naved Mian, an Independent candidate, secured 2,448 votes.
The SP candidate in Machhlishahr was sitting MP Tufani. Congress fielded Tufani Nishad against him. While SP leader polled 1,91,387 to stand third, the Congress leader came fourth with 36,275 votes. BJP candidate Ram Charitra Nishad won the seat.
In Allahabad, BJP’s Shayama Charan Gupta won the election but another Shyam Charan (independent) too contested and got 2,593 votes. Similarly, BJP candidate in Ballia, Bharat Singh, won the election even as another Bharat Singh, fielded by the AAP, secured 3,297 votes.
BJP’s Mukesh Rajput won in Farrukhabad against Congress’s Salman Khurshid. Another Mukesh Rajpoot, an Independent, got 2,420 votes.
Congress candidate in Hardoi Sarvesh Kumar too had similar challenge from Independent candidate Sarvesh who got 4,130 votes. Both lost the election.
In Hathras, Rashrtiya Lok Dal nominee Niranjan Singh Dhangar lost the election as did his namesake Niranjan Singh, an Independent candidate, who could garner only 2,847 votes.
In Dhaurahra, SP candidate Anand Bhadauriya lost the election and stood at third place. The runner up candidate was BSP’s Daud Ahmad and difference of votes between him and Ahmad Bhadauriya was only 650 votes. Bhadauriya probably could have improved his position if Nationalist Congress Party candidate Anand Kumar (9,967 votes) had not contested.