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The Congress had never lost this seat, closely identified with the Congress's Kamal Nath since 1980. The extent of Congress support can be gauged from the fact that it held on to the seat even in 1977 when the rest of north India was swept away by the Janata wave. In 1996, it was Kamal Nath's wife, Alka, who was nominated by the party after he was denied a ticket because of the hawala issue, and she managed to defeat the BJP by just 21,000 votes. However, she stepped aside six months later, and in the ensuing by-election, Kamal Nath was defeated by the BJP's Sunderlal Patwa.
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