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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. The Congress contested 35 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu in the 1998 election. How many seats did it win?
a. 17 seats.
b. It lost all.
c. It won just one.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong!
The correct answer is B
Some analysts say Congress candidates lost their deposit in all 35 seats; the party won just 4.78% of the votes cast. Until the 1996 election, the Congress won the most number of Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu but for three elections (1967, 1971, 1977). In 1991, it won 28 of the state's 39 seats. Just before the 1996 election, P V Narasimha Rao forms an alliance with J Jayalalithaa. G K Moopanar, the state's towering Congress leader, quits the party along with the likes of P Chidambaram and creates the Tamil Maanila Congress. The TMC and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam form an alliance, which wins 37 of the state's 39 seats, the best performance ever in Tamil Nadu. The Congress, which won 42.57% of the votes cast in 1991, gets just 18.28% in 1996 and does not win a single seat! The Congress decides against an alliance with Jayalalithaa in 1998 and does not win a single seat in the state for the second time. In 1999, it is back with Jayalalithaa, who gives it a mere 12 seats. The Congress wins just two.

Correct!
The correct answer is B
Some analysts say Congress candidates lost their deposit in all 35 seats; the party won just 4.78% of the votes cast. Until the 1996 election, the Congress won the most number of Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu but for three elections (1967, 1971, 1977). In 1991, it won 28 of the state's 39 seats. Just before the 1996 election, P V Narasimha Rao forms an alliance with J Jayalalithaa. G K Moopanar, the state's towering Congress leader, quits the party along with the likes of P Chidambaram and creates the Tamil Maanila Congress. The TMC and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam form an alliance, which wins 37 of the state's 39 seats, the best performance ever in Tamil Nadu. The Congress, which won 42.57% of the votes cast in 1991, gets just 18.28% in 1996 and does not win a single seat! The Congress decides against an alliance with Jayalalithaa in 1998 and does not win a single seat in the state for the second time. In 1999, it is back with Jayalalithaa, who gives it a mere 12 seats. The Congress wins just two.

2. In 1999, the Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. Which ones?
a. Madras North and Nagercoil.
b. Nilgiris and Salem.
c. Mayiladathurai and Sivaganga.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong!
The correct answer is C.
Mani Shankar Aiyar won Mayiladathurai, defeating the Pattal Makkal Katchi's P D Arulmozhi by 40,131 votes while E M Sudarshana Nachiappan won Sivaganga, defeating the BJP's H Raja by 23,811 votes. In third place was the man who had represented Sivaganga since 1984, Palaniappan Chidambaram. Despite winning the seat against all odds, Nachiappan has not been renominated this election. Sonia Gandhi has backed Chidambaram, who will contest under the Congress symbol for the first time in eight years though he is not a member of the party.
Correct!
Mani Shankar Aiyar won Mayiladathurai, defeating the Pattal Makkal Katchi's P D Arulmozhi by 40,131 votes while E M Sudarshana Nachiappan won Sivaganga, defeating the BJP's H Raja by 23,811 votes. In third place was the man who had represented Sivaganga since 1984, Palaniappan Chidambaram. Despite winning the seat against all odds, Nachiappan has not been renominated this election. Sonia Gandhi has backed Chidambaram, who will contest under the Congress symbol for the first time in eight years though he is not a member of the party.

3. This distinguished Congressman and once India's finance minister won the 1952 and 1957 general elections from Thanjavur, then moved to Madras South in 1977 and won from there as well. He did an encore in 1980 and never contested a Lok Sabha election again. Name please.
a. R Venkataraman.
b. C Subramaniam.
c. T T Krishnamachari.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is A.
Ramaswamy Venkataraman made his parliamentary debut aged just 42, winning the Thanjavur seat narrowly. His win in 1957 came with a better margin. 'RV' did not contest in 1962, but lost the 1967 election. A follower of the legendary Congress leader K Kamaraj, he stayed with the Congress-O after the 1969 split in the party. He returned to Indira Gandhi's Congress party after Kamaraj's death in 1976. She nominated him for the Madras South seat, defeating sitting MP Murasoli Maran of the DMK. He repeated his success in January 1980, served as defence and finance ministers before being asked to serve as India's vice-president, under Giani Zail Singh, from 1982 to 1987. He was elevated to the Presidency in 1987, and ignored repeated attempts by Rajiv Gandhi's adversaries to persuade him to dismiss the prime minister. One of the carrots offered to RV: 'We will make you prime minister in Rajiv's place.'
Correct!
Ramaswamy Venkataraman made his parliamentary debut aged just 42, winning the Thanjavur seat narrowly. His win in 1957 came with a better margin. 'RV' did not contest in 1962, but lost the 1967 election. A follower of the legendary Congress leader K Kamaraj, he stayed with the Congress-O after the 1969 split in the party. He returned to Indira Gandhi's Congress party after Kamaraj's death in 1976. She nominated him for the Madras South seat, defeating sitting MP Murasoli Maran of the DMK. He repeated his success in January 1980, served as defence and finance ministers before being asked to serve as India's vice-president, under Giani Zail Singh, from 1982 to 1987. He was elevated to the Presidency in 1987, and ignored repeated attempts by Rajiv Gandhi's adversaries to persuade him to dismiss the prime minister. One of the carrots offered to RV: 'We will make you prime minister in Rajiv's place.'

4. Vaiko won the 1999 election in Sivakasi. Who was his celebrated AIADMK rival?
a. Former Supreme Court Judge V Ramaswami.
b. Former assembly speaker Paul Hector Pandian.
c. Former minister S S Thirunavakkarasu.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is A.
Justice Ramaswami is the only Supreme Court judge who faced an impeachment motion in Parliament. He missed censure after the Congress abstained from the vote. Interestingly, he was defended in Parliament by his eloquent lawyer, Kapil Sibal, currently the Congress spokesman. Vaiko retained the seat by 74,781 votes, about 60,000 votes less than his 1998 winning margin of 134,923 votes.
Correct!
Justice Ramaswami is the only Supreme Court judge who faced an impeachment motion in Parliament. He missed censure after the Congress abstained from the vote. Interestingly, he was defended in Parliament by his eloquent lawyer, Kapil Sibal, currently the Congress spokesman. Vaiko retained the seat by 74,781 votes, about 60,000 votes less than his 1998 winning margin of 134,923 votes.

5. Tough question: What links the Tamil Nadu constituencies of Comibatore, Salem, Tiruchengode and Tiruchirapalli?
a. The Dravidian parties (DMK, AIADMK etc) have never won these seats.
b. The Congress has never won any of these seats.
c. A father, his daughter and grandson have won each of these seats.

Wrong! Try again..
Wrong! The correct answer is C.
Dr P Subbarayan, after losing the 1952 election, won the 1957 and 1962 elections from Tiruchengode on a Congress ticket. He was a member of Nehru's Cabinet and also served as governor of Maharashtra. He had four children. The eldest, General P P Kumaramangalam, was chief of the army staff while another son Gopal headed many PSUs. A third son Mohan was the architect of Indira Gandhi's leftist economic polices (bank nationalisation being the most famous). Subbarayan's daughter Parvati Krishnan -- a member of the Communist Party of India -- won Coimbatore in 1957 (the same year her dad won from Tiruchengode), in a by-election in 1974 and again in 1977. Her loss in 1980 (she had also lost in 1962) meant that the Communist run in Coimbatore ended. It has been represented by the BJP's C P Radhakrishnan since 1998. Subbarayan's grandson Phanindranath Rangarajan Kumaramangalam -- 'Ranga' -- won Salem in 1984, 1989 and 1991 on the Congress ticket. He resigned from the P V Narasimha Rao ministry on the Cauvery waters issue and was denied a seat for the 1996 election. He lost the Salem seat as a candidate of the Congress (Tiwari) party (he came in third). Ranga then joined the BJP, moved to Tiruchirapalli and won it both in 1998 and 1999. Power minister in the Vajpayee government he died suddenly in September 2000, aged just 48. His sister Lalitha is now the BJP candidate from Pondicherry.
Correct!
Dr P Subbarayan, after losing the 1952 election, won the 1957 and 1962 elections from Tiruchengode on a Congress ticket. He was a member of Nehru's Cabinet and also served as governor of Maharashtra. He had four children. The eldest, General P P Kumaramangalam, was chief of the army staff while another son Gopal headed many PSUs. A third son Mohan was the architect of Indira Gandhi's leftist economic polices (bank nationalisation being the most famous). Subbarayan's daughter Parvati Krishnan -- a member of the Communist Party of India -- won Coimbatore in 1957 (the same year her dad won from Tiruchengode), in a by-election in 1974 and again in 1977. Her loss in 1980 (she had also lost in 1962) meant that the Communist run in Coimbatore ended. It has been represented by the BJP's C P Radhakrishnan since 1998. Subbarayan's grandson Phanindranath Rangarajan Kumaramangalam -- 'Ranga' -- won Salem in 1984, 1989 and 1991 on the Congress ticket. He resigned from the P V Narasimha Rao ministry on the Cauvery waters issue and was denied a seat for the 1996 election. He lost the Salem seat as a candidate of the Congress (Tiwari) party (he came in third). Ranga then joined the BJP, moved to Tiruchirapalli and won it both in 1998 and 1999. Power minister in the Vajpayee government he died suddenly in September 2000, aged just 48. His sister Lalitha is now the BJP candidate from Pondicherry.

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

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Quiz 11
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Quiz 14
Quiz 15
Quiz 16

Compiled by G K Gokhale
Image: Uttam Ghosh



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