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Can any Bollywood drama ever compare with the awesome spectacle of an Indian election?

Let us check out how much you know about the Great Election Tamasha.

A quiz we will publish every working day till May 13, the day we know who we have elected to the 14th Lok Sabha.

1. Lucknow is Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's constituency. He won it easily in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999. What was the outcome when Vajpayee contested the Lucknow seat in 1957 and 1962?
a. He won both times, easily.
b. He lost both elections.
c. He lost in 1957, but won in 1962.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong!
The correct answer is B
Pulin B Banerji and B K Dhaon, both Congress candidates, defeated the man who would be prime minister in 1957 and 1962 respectively. In 1957, 1962 and 1967, he also contested the Balrampur seat in Uttar Pradesh, winning it in 1957 and 1967, but losing narrowly to Subhadra Joshi in 1962. Vajpayee returned to Lucknow 29 years after his second loss from the constituency. In between he contested the Gwalior seat in 1971 (won), the New Delhi seat in 1977 and 1980 (won both), Gwalior in 1984 (lost). He also won the Vidisha seat in Madhya Pradesh in 1991, but gave it up in favour of Lucknow.

Correct!
The correct answer is B
Pulin B Banerji and B K Dhaon, both Congress candidates, defeated the man who would be prime minister in 1957 and 1962 respectively. In 1957, 1962 and 1967, he also contested the Balrampur seat in Uttar Pradesh, winning it in 1957 and 1967, but losing narrowly to Subhadra Joshi in 1962. Vajpayee returned to Lucknow 29 years later after his second loss from the constituency. In between he contested the Gwalior seat in 1971 (won), the New Delhi seat in 1977 and 1980 (won both), Gwalior in 1984 (lost). He also won the Vidisha seat in Madhya Pradesh in 1991, but gave it up in favour of Lucknow.

2. What links these Lok Sabha constituencies in UP -- Amethi, Lucknow, Phulpur, Pilibhit and Rae Bareli?
a. All of them have elected a prime minister.
b. Husbands and wives have been elected from these constituencies.
c. Each of them has elected a member of the Nehru family to Parliament.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong!
The correct answer is C.
A could have been right, but for Pilibhit [Maneka Gandhi is not prime minister yet :-)]. B could have been right, because Feroze and Indira Gandhi were elected from Rae Bareli; Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi have been elected from Amethi; Sanjay Gandhi won election from Amethi and Maneka from Pilibhit (nine years apart though). But no such luck in Lucknow and Phulpur.

Lucknow elected Vijayalaxmi Pandit in 1952; Phulpur, her brother Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1957 and 1962. Vijayalaxmi won Phulpur in the 1964 by-election caused by her brother's death and retained it in 1967.

Feroze Gandhi, Nehru's son-in-law, was elected from Rae Bareli in 1957 and 1962; Feroze Gandhi's widow Indira was elected from there in 1967, 1971 and 1980 (she lost in 1977), his sons Sanjay and Rajiv were elected from Amethi in 1980 (Sanjay; he lost the 1977 election), 1984, 1989 and 1991 respectively (Rajiv, the last, posthumously).

Maneka won the Pilibhit seat in 1989, lost it in 1991, but won it in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Sonia Gandhi won the Amethi seat in 1998 and 1999. Rae Bareli has also been held by relatives of the Nehrus -- Arun Nehru in 1984 and Sheila Kaul in 1989 and 1991.

Correct!
A could have been right, but for Pilibhit [Maneka Gandhi is not prime minister yet :-)]. B could have been right, because Feroze and Indira Gandhi were elected from Rae Bareli; Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi have been elected from Amethi; Sanjay Gandhi won election from Amethi and Maneka from Pilibhit (nine years apart though). But no such luck in Lucknow and Phulpur.

Lucknow elected Vijayalaxmi Pandit in 1952; Phulpur, her brother Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1957 and 1962. Vijayalaxmi won Phulpur in the 1964 by-election caused by her brother's death and retained it in 1967.

Feroze Gandhi, Nehru's son-in-law, was elected from Rae Bareli in 1957 and 1962; Feroze Gandhi's widow Indira was elected from there in 1967, 1971 and 1980 (she lost in 1977), his sons Sanjay and Rajiv were elected from Amethi in 1980 (Sanjay; he lost the 1977 election), 1984, 1989 and 1991 respectively (Rajiv, the last, posthumously).

Maneka won the Pilibhit seat in 1989, lost it in 1991, but won it in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Sonia Gandhi won the Amethi seat in 1998 and 1999. Rae Bareli has also been held by relatives of the Nehrus -- Arun Nehru in 1984 and Sheila Kaul in 1989 and 1991.

3. Dr Meghnad Saha was one of India's greatest physicists. How many of you know he was also a member of the first Lok Sabha? Which constituency elected this eminent scientist?
a. Wandiwash in Tamil Nadu.
b. Calcutta North West.
c. Jadavpur in West Bengal.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is B.
As a rediff.com report in 1997 said, Dr
Saha -- one of whose students was Professor Rajendra Singh aka Raju Bhaiyya, the late RSS sarsanghchalak -- 'disagreed with Nehru's adoption of the Western thought of science which sequesters it from society. Saha's conviction made him contest the first Lok Sabha election and in Parliament he opposed Nehru on science policy. There was bitterness and disillusionment. Saha died shortly after, and all attempts to socialise science ended with him. "Had Saha succeeded," says an RSS member, "the course of science in India would have been different. But he failed. The impact of it was deep. It drove scientists right up back to their ivory towers and made them timid, shy of social interaction, and fearful of politics.'"
Correct!
As a rediff.com report in 1997 said, Dr
Saha -- one of whose students was Professor Rajendra Singh aka Raju Bhaiyya, the late RSS sarsanghchalak -- 'disagreed with Nehru's adoption of the Western thought of science which sequesters it from society. Saha's conviction made him contest the first Lok Sabha election and in Parliament he opposed Nehru on science policy. There was bitterness and disillusionment. Saha died shortly after, and all attempts to socialise science ended with him. "Had Saha succeeded," says an RSS member, "the course of science in India would have been different. But he failed. The impact of it was deep. It drove scientists right up back to their ivory towers and made them timid, shy of social interaction, and fearful of politics.'"

4. In a Congress bastion like Maharashtra, this constituency did not return a Congress MP till 1991. In eight general elections, the Congress nominee always came second. Name this unique constituency.
a. Rajapur.
b. Pandharpur.
c. Chimur.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is A.
The influence of the Socialists was very strong for a long time in this coastal constituency. In the first three elections Nehru nemesis Nath Pai of the Praja Socialist Party won easily. Succeeding him for the next five elections was Professor Madhu Dandavate, the erudite and modest Socialist who served as Morarji Desai's railways minister in the Janata Party government of 1977 and V P Singh's finance minister in the Janata Dal government of 1989. Major Sudhir Sawant was the first Congressman to win the seat. But the former soldier was shunted aside by Suresh Prabhu, the Shiv Sena's banker-turned-politician, who has won it in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
Correct!
The influence of the Socialists was very strong for a long time in this coastal constituency. In the first three elections Nehru nemesis Nath Pai of the Praja Socialist Party won easily. Succeeding him for the next five elections was Professor Madhu Dandavate, the erudite and modest Socialist who served as Morarji Desai's railways minister in the Janata Party government of 1977 and V P Singh's finance minister in the Janata Dal government of 1989. Major Sudhir Sawant was the first Congressman to win the seat. But the former soldier was shunted aside by Suresh Prabhu, the Shiv Sena's banker-turned-politician, who has won it in 1996, 1998 and 1999.

5. Until 1977 this Punjab constituency was a Congress borough. Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the SGPC president who died on March 31, won it for the Shiromani Akali Dal for the first time that year. Which one are we talking about?
a. Patiala.
b. Jalandhar.
c. Amritsar.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is A.
Since then, the Akalis and Congress have shared the seat almost equally. The Akalis won it in 1985, 1996 and 1998; the Congress won it in 1980, 1992 and 1999. An Independent won the seat in 1989. Interestingly, though his wife Preneet Kaur is the incumbent MP, the Maharaja of Patiala has won the seat only once, in 1980. Captain Amarinder Singh, now Punjab's chief minister, did not serve a full term, resigning from the Congress party and the Lok Sabha in June 1984 to protest Operation Bluestar. The first time he contested, in 1977, he lost to Tohra. Returning to the Congress in the mid-nineties he contested the seat in 1998, but was defeated by the Akali Dal's Prem Singh Chandumajra.
Correct!
Since then the Akalis and Congress have shared the seat almost equally. The Akalis won it in 1985, 1996 and 1998, the Congress won it in 1980, 1992, 1999. An Independent won the seat in 1989. Interestingly, though his wife Preneet Kaur, is the incumbent MP, the Maharaja of Patiala has won the seat only once, in 1980. Captain Amarinder Singh, now Punjab's chief minister, did not serve a full term, resigning from the Congress party and the Lok Sabha in June 1984 to protest Operation Bluestar. The first time he contested, in 1977, he lost to Tohra. Returning to the Congress in the mid-nineties he contested the seat in 1998, but was defeated by the Akali Dal's Prem Singh Chandumajra.

Election Quiz is best viewed in Internet Explorer and Netscape above version 6.0.

Quiz 1

Quiz 2

Compiled by G K Gokhale
Image: Uttam Ghosh



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