Dual contest proves good, will it be so for Rahul?

Dual contest proves good, will it be so for Rahul?

Agency News

New Delhi, Mar 31 : Like in all electoral contests, in the dual candidature issue also what ultimately matters is the people's wishes.
What uniquely distinguishes Congress president Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from two parliamentary seats than what has been done earlier by the likes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi and even his mother Sonia Gandhi is - the popularity graph.
Mr Gandhi has taken the decision at a time when his party is faced with multiple challenges and is desperate to get back its relevance in national politics - especially in terms of the number of members it will have in the Lower House of Parliament. In 2014, the Congress tally had come down to all time record low of 44.
Rahul Gandhi is contesting in two constituencies when there is no wave in his favour and in fact, the BJP leaders have already mocked that his decision to contest from Wayanad parliamentary seat is guided by the fear of rejection in family pocket borough Amethi.
Among others, who had contested such two-seats in the past include time tested politician Vajpayee - who had done this in 1991 from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh.
He repeated that in 1996 from Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Lucknow in UP. The BJP stalwart had won both and later gave up Gandhinagar.
For his part BJP veteran L K Advani did so from New Delhi and Gandhinagar in 1991.
For her part, Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi contested in 1999 from two seats in Bellary in Karnataka and family's pocket borough Amethi in UP.
In fact, it was considered a tough fight but Sonia Gandhi's personal popularity was never in question and her political ability was not put on test earlier. In the case of Rahul Gandhi, the scenario is slightly different as he has been at the helm of affairs running the party for quite sometime and the electoral voyage has been - win some, lose some.
To take on Sonia Gandhi in Bellary, the BJP had fielded Sushma Swaraj - a woman trying to represent 'Bharatiya Nari' image against Italian born Sonia. Many said with her 'big bindi on the forehead' Ms Swaraj
was the perfect nationalistic foil to take on Sonia Gandhi - but the Congress president won the contest by a margin of 56,100 votes.
In 2014, when Prime Minister decided to contest from Vadodara in his home turf and Varanasi — Narendra Modi was riding the much talked about 'pro-Modi wave' --- such a thing is clearly missing in the case of Rahul Gandhi in circa 2019.
In others cases, most of such decisions to contest from two seats used to be strategic and to prefer a relatively comfortable entry into Lok Sabha, the BJP leaders say the gamble in Modi's decision was about to demonstrate the mass appeal.
"Modi's candidature in Varanasi changed the entire equation. The BJP won as many as 71 seats and two additional for ally Apna Dal and thus the Modi magic helped his party capture power," a BJP leader said.
In contrast, sources said Mr Advani's decision to contest from two seats in 1991 was guided by the fact that New Delhi constituency was slowly offering a tough contest to him when Congress fielded actor Rajesh Khanna.
In fact, the issue of contesting from two seats has triggered debate and litigation too.
Last year, the Election Commission had told the Supreme Court that it favours an amendment to Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to ensure that a candidate is not allowed to contest from more than one seat.
As of now, the Representation of the People Act says a candidate may contest any election (Parliamentary, state assembly, biennial council, or by-elections) from 'up to two constituencies' -- this is presumably to give greater flexibility to candidates.
In 2004 Lok Sabha polls, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had contested from two constituencies Hassan and Kanakpura. He lost Kanakpura contest to Tejaswani Gowda but could win from Hassan.
Ironically, five years back in 1999 Lok Sabha - Mr Gowda had lost Hassan seat to G Pattaswamy of Congress.
Among others, Mulayam Singh Yadav had contested from Azamgarh and Mainpuri in 2014 and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad had also contested from Saran and Pataliputra in 2009.