Mangaluru, Apr 17, 2019: The seven Independents who are contesting 17th Lok Sabha election are unmindful of the fact that there is a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress for the first time since 1984. Also, all previous Independents – including the seven Independents who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections – had forfeited their deposits.
n spite of sweating out like candidates from the national parties, the percentage of votes polled for Independents in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections was less than 1%. Since the start of elections in 1957 till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 44 Independents have taken a plunge, dreaming of making it to the Parliament.
They not only failed in realising their dreams but also lost their deposits.
The 44 Independents contesting in 10 Lok Sabha polls collectively pooled 87,784 votes. Interestingly, in the Lok Sabha polls held in 1962, 1977, 1999 and 2004, not a single candidate had filed his or her nomination as an Independent. The Lok Sabha polls held in 1996 had set a record of sorts with as many as nine Independents in the fray.
Independents or ‘spoilers’ – as former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had famously described the Independents – are not vying for fame, asserts an Independent candidate Venkatesh Bende.
“I am contesting as an Independent in order to draw attention to the unscientific Nethravathi river diversion project and impress upon those being elected to protect our local culture,” Bende stressed.
Bende is contesting as an Independent under the symbol of a man blowing a traditional bugle.
An editor of a Kannada daily, ‘Suddi Bidugade’, Dr U P Shivananda has gone a step ahead by deciding to contest as an Independent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi and AICC president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. “I am contesting as an Independent to draw their attention to Mahatma Gandhiji’s concept of ‘Grama Swarajya’,” said Shivananda.
“It is only during the elections, that the voters are wooed. They are ignored until the next elections,” he reminded.