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Victory Margins No Guarantee Of Ticket

April 05, 2024 08:59 IST

12 of the 20 MPs with the highest winning margins in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls have not been re-nominated by their parties for the 2024 general elections.

IMAGE: A Bharatiya Janata Party supporter shows the victory sign at an election meeting in Bettiah, West Champaran, Bihar. Photograph: ANI Photo

Uncertainty is the only certainty in Indian politics, something that the MPs of Karnal and Vidisha have recently found out.

Both the representatives -- Karnal's Sanjay Bhatia and Vidisha's Ramakant Bhargava -- have joined the league of MPs who, despite winning their seats with huge margins in 2019 polls, have been denied tickets by their party.

Only eight of the 20 MPs with the highest winning margins in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls have been re-nominated by their parties for the 2024 general elections.

Bhatia, for example, was the second on the list of MPs with highest winning margins in 2019. He had won the Karnal seat on a BJP ticket by 656,142 votes. For the 2024 elections, the BJP has decided to field former Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar from Karnal.

Bhargava, 16th in the pecking order, has made way for former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the Vidisha seat.

The Election Commission, in its 'Atlas' for the 2019 general elections, calculates winning margins by deducting the votes of the runner-up in a constituency from the votes that the winner received.

On the top was the BJP's Navsari (Gujarat) candidate C R Paatil. He polled 972,739 votes and had trumped Dharmeshbhai Bhimbhai Patel of the Congress, who secured 283,071. The victory margin was huge at 689,668 votes -- the highest across 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.

Paatil, who is also the BJP's Gujarat unit chief, is contesting again from Navsari. He had won the seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Bhatia and Bhargava, meanwhile, were first-term MPs.

But the number of terms too does not guarantee a party ticket.

For example, for Rajasthan's Bhilwara seat, the BJP replaced Subhash Chandra Baheria, its two-term MP from the constituency, with Damodar Agarwal for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

In 2019, Baheria's win margin was 612,000 votes, the fourth highest in the country.

Of the 20 MPs with the highest win margins, leading lights of their respective parties, such as Gandhinagar MP Amit A Shah and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Sriperumbudur MP T R Baalu will contest from their respective constituencies again.

But prominence too is no insurance for a ticket, something that Ghaziabad MP and former Indian Army chief V K Singh has found out. The BJP has replaced him with Atul Garg.

In 2019, General Singh's victory margin was 501,500 votes, the 17th highest in the country.

Eleventh on the list of high win margins in 2019 was the BJP's Diya Kumari, who won Rajasthan's Rajsamand seat by 551,916 votes. Kumari vacated it after she won the Rajasthan assembly polls in December 2023 and is now the state's deputy chief minister.

Meanwhile, the BJP's Vadodara MP Ranjanben Dhananjay Bhatt's case is intriguing. In 2019, she had recorded the fifth-highest win margin.

She first won from Vadodara in a by-poll after Narendra Modi vacated the seat in 2014, retaining the Varanasi seat. For the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP announced her name for the seat in its first list. However, after party workers protested, it replaced her with Hemang Joshi.

In 2019, the DMK's P Velusamy won the Dindigul seat by 538,972 votes, the 14th-highest win margin. However, the DMK has asked the Communist Party of India-Marxist for a swap.

Archis Mohan in New Delhi
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