New Delhi: Before Rahul Gandhi, several national leaders have contested from two or more Lok Sabha seats in a single general election.
The Congress president, who will contest from Wayanad in north Kerala besides Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, will follow in his mother’s footsteps and will be in the same club of multi-seat contestants as Narendra Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad, among others.
Since Independence, elections have allowed candidates to represent more than one constituency. In 1996, an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, limited candidates to two seats.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1957, 1991, 1996
Balrampur, Mathura and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in 1957
As an activist of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Vajpayee contested from three constituencies in the second general election in 1957. He won from Balrampur, finished as runner-up in Lucknow and forfeited his deposit in Mathura.
Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in 1991
He won both seats against Congress candidates, getting over 50 per cent of the vote share.
Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in 1996
Again, he won both seats. In Lucknow, the Samajwadi Party’s Raj Babbar had contested against Vajpayee.
Medak in Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh in 1980
Indira defeated Vijaya Raje Scindia in Rae Bareli. In Medak, she won against S. Jaipal Reddy, who was then with the Janata Party.
Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Bellary in Karnataka in 1999
In Amethi, she won with a massive margin of 3 lakh, defeating the BJP’s Sanjay Singh.
In Bellary, Sonia’s contest was against the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, who was in the fight as the country-bred beti taking on the “videshi bahu”. Swaraj lost by more than 56,000 votes. Like Amethi, Bellary too was considered a traditional Congress seat. But Bellary turned saffron in 2004 and has remained so since.
Mulayam Singh Yadav
Sambhal and Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh in 1999; Mainpuri and Azamgarh in 2014
Mulayam defeated the BJP’s Chaudhary Bhupendra Singh in Sambhal. He had won Sambhal in the general election the previous year too. He won Kannauj but relinquished it.
In 2014, Mulayam won both Mainpuri and Azamgarh in an election that saw the BJP sweep the state with 71 seats. He relinquished the Mainpuri seat where his grand-nephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav was re-elected in a bypoll.
Chhapra and Madhepura in Bihar in 2004; Saran and Pataliputra in Bihar in 2009
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad defeated the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy. In Madhepura, he beat Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United). Sharad Yadav was defeated thrice from Madhepura, including twice by Lalu Prasad in 1998 and 2004.
Lalu was up against Rudy again in Saran and won. He lost Pataliputra to Janata Dal (United).
Firozabad and Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh in 2009
Akhilesh won both the seats. Kannauj sent Akhilesh to the Lok Sabha in 2000 after a by-election win. The seat vacated by his father after he chose to represent Sambhal.
Vadodara in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in 2014
Modi had announced his desire to contest from Varanasi by saying: “Varanasi mujhe Ma Ganga ne bulaya (Ma Ganga has called me to Varanasi).” BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi was the MP from Varanasi and had to forego the seat. He contested from Kanpur and won. Modi got more than 55 per cent votes and won Varanasi. Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Keriwal had challenged Modi in Varanasi and lost by a margin of 3,71,784.