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Sidhu, Sikdar, Jindal triumph

May 14, 2004 19:48 IST

Former Test opener Navjot Singh Sidhu, Asian Games gold medallist athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar and South Asian Federation Games silver medallist skeet shooter Naveen Jindal will be making their debut in the Lok Sabha following their election on Thursday.

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There also was a long list of politicians-turned-sports administrators who were swept away in the mandate, including Minister of State for Sports Vijay Goel and External Affairs Minister and All India Tennis Association president Yashwant Sinha.

While Sidhu, also a renowned commentator, contested on a BJP ticket and won from the holy city of Amritsar by a thumping majority of 1.09 lakh votes, Sikdar, a CPI (M) candidate, upset BJP's Union Minister, Satyabrata Mukherjee, by over 14,000 votes at Krishnagar in West Bengal.

The Congress's Jindal, national skeet shooting team captain, steel magnate and famous polo player, won the 'Battle of Kurukshetra', routing Abhay Singh Chautala, president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes.

But if Sidhu managed to convert his popularity into votes, two other former cricketers and sitting MPs representing the BJP -- Chetan Chauhan and Kirti Azad – were routed in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

Azad, a member of the 'Kapil's Devils' squad, which won the World Cup in 1983, suffered a heavy defeat, losing by over 1.43 lakh votes in Darbhanga while Delhi and District Cricket Association vice-president Chauhan, more famous as Sunil Gavaskar's opening partner, finished a poor fourth in Amroha, gathering just 14.75 per cent of the votes polled.

Prominent winners among sports administrators were Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi from Pune, Maharashtra, and All India Sports Council president and president of the Archery Association of India, Vijay Kumar Malhotra from South Delhi.

Kalmadi (Congress) defeated his nearest BJP rival by 73,176 votes while Malhotra prevented a total rout for the BJP in the capital, retaining his seat by a margin of 16,005 votes.

Another winner was former Union Sports Minister and Cycling Federation of India president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, of the Siromani Akali Dal, who won from Sangrur in Punjab.

Among other Congress winners were All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi from Raiganj, West Bengal, and Churchill Alemao, bossman of Churchill Brothers Football Club, from Goa.

The losers' list also had Yashwant Sinha's junior colleague in the MEA, Digvijay Singh, president of the National Rifle Association of India, who lost in Banka, Bihar.

Goel lost to Congress candidate Jagdish Tytler, president of Judo Federation of India, in Delhi Sadar by 15.974 votes, while Sinha lost game, set and match in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand by over 1.05 lakh votes.  

Another loser was Table Tennis Federation of India president Ajay Singh Chautala, who finished a poor third in Bhiwani, Haryana.

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