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January 19, 1998


Stalwarts meet their Waterloo in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh had proved to be a Waterloo in the Lok Sabha elections for many stalwarts, including former president Shanker Dayal Sharma during his Congress days, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Kanshi Ram and even renowned freedom fighter Acharya J B Kripalani.

The same fate had overtaken former Union ministers Arjun Singh, Vidya Charan Shukla, Kamalnath, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, Samajwadi leaders Harivishnu Kamath and K D Deshmukh and Communist leader Homi Daji.

The Janata Party wave in 1977 had claimed Dr Sharma, who tasted defeat at the hands of Bharatiya Lok Dal candidate Arif Beg in Bhopal by a margin of more than 100,000 votes.

It is not known to many that Kanshi Ram had also tested his luck in the same year from Janjgir Lok Sabha seat as an independent. He came third in the race with 8.81 per cent of the votes.

Vajpayee's turn came seven years later, in 1984, when the Congress sprang a surprise by nominating Madhavrao Scindia from Gwalior against him. The BJP leader lost by a margin of more than 175,000 votes.

Acharya Kripalani stood as an independent from Raipur in 1967. However, he was defeated by Congress candidate Lakhanlal Gupta by a margin of more than 24,000 votes.

Renowned socialist leader Harivishnu Kamath lost three elections from Hoshangabad constituency. In 1952, he was defeated by Syed Ahmed of the Congress by 174 votes. Later, in 1957, he lost to Mangilal Bagadi (Congress) by a margin of 25,000 votes. His third defeat came in 1967 when he was beaten by Choudhary Nitiraj Singh by a margin of just 22 votes.

Janata Dal leader K D Deshmukh was defeated by an independent, Kankar Munjare from Balaghat in 1989 by a margin of about 10,000 votes.

Vasundhra Raje, a member of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family, lost from Bhind Lok Sabha constituency when she contested on a BJP ticket in 1984. She was defeated by former Datia maharaja Krishna Singh (Congress) by a margin of 7,000 votes.

BJP national general secretary Kushabhau Thakre, contesting as a Janata Party candidate in 1980, lost from Khandwa. Shivkumar Singh (Congress) won the seat by a margin of 37,000 votes.

In the 1996 elections, senior Congress leader Arjun Singh was relegated to the third position from Satna when he contested the election as a candidate of the All India Indira Congress (Tiwari). BSP candidate Sukhlal Kushwaha wrested the seat, defeating his nearest BJP rival and former chief minister Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha by a margin of 22,000 votes.

Vidya Charan Shukla, who has a Parliamentary experience of more than four decades, also tasted his first defeat from Madhya Pradesh in 1977, when Bharatiya Lok Dal candidate Purshottam Kaushik beat him in Raipur by a margin of more than 83,000 votes.

Kamalnath tasted defeat from Chhindwara last year. He had been denied the party ticket in 1996, following the Central Bureau of Investigation's chargesheet against him in connection with the Jain hawala case. The Congress fielded his wife Alka Nath, who retained the seat for the party.

She resigned the seat within a year to enable her husband to contest a by-election from Chhindwara. However, Kamalnath lost to senior BJP leader and former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa by a margin of about 38,000 votes in February last year.

The state also has a history of defeating family members of senior leaders. Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi had contested the Jabalpur seat in 1980 as a Janata Party candidate but was defeated by the Congress nominee Mundar Sharma by more than 77,000 votes.

Former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's son Anil Shastri was fielded as an All India Indira Congress (Tiwari) candidate from Indore in 1996, but he was relegated to the third place.

Veteran Communist leader Homi Daji was trounced by Congress nominee and former Union minister P C Sethi from Indore in the 1967 election.

State Chief Minister Digvijay Singh was defeated by BJP candidate Pyarelal Khandelwal from Rajgarh in 1989.

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti had also suffered a defeat in her traditional stronghold Khajuraho in 1984. Congress candidate Vidyavati Chaturvedi had captured the seat with a margin of more than 50,000 votes.

Renowned cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a member of the Nawab family of erstwhile Bhopal state, lost to BJP candidate and former chief secretary S C Verma in 1991 from Bhopal.

Senior tribal leader and former Union minister Arvind Netam, who had left the Congress to join the BSP recently, was defeated from his traditional base Kanker in 1977 by the Bharatiya Lok Dal candidate Adhan Singh by 53,000 votes.


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