Maharashtra Polls: Meet candidates who have opponents with same names

Candidates with the same names contesting in Panvel, Pen and Alibaug constituencies will tend to confuse voters and cut into each other’s vote shares in the upcoming state assembly elections

“What's in a name?” asked William Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet. A lot, if you ask candidates contesting constituencies like Panvel, Pen and Alibaug, in the upcoming state assembly elections.

Panvel MLA Prashant Thakur PWP’s Balram Patil
Panvel MLA Prashant Thakur and PWP’s Balram Patil (right) have opponents with the same name as theirs, in Panvel state assembly constituency

On the list of hopefuls are candidates with the exact same name as a prominent party candidate touted to be strong in these areas. For example, in Panvel, sitting MLA Prashant Thakur, who is from the BJP, will face another Prashant Thakur in a bid to claim the Panvel seat.

In the same constituency, Balram Patil, from the Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP), finds himself up against two other Balram Patils an independent and one from Bahujan Samaj Party. Similarly, in Pen, Ravindra Patil from the Congress goes up against his namesake from Janata Dal (United).

In Alibaug, Madhukar Thakur of the Congress will have to contend with Madhukar Thakur, an independent candidate. If voters aren’t too careful to notice a party’s symbol before pressing the button, vote shares are bound to split.

Manohar Limaye, a resident of Panvel, said, “It’s only when people are well aware of party symbols and candidates that this problem will not occur. However, in a situation where people only know the candidate by name, chances of vote share splits are higher.

Pavan Chandak, tehsildar and executive magistrate of Panvel, said, “It is true that, every elections, names of candidates are repeated across Raigad constituency. However, we cannot restrict anyone from contesting the elections. Thus, it is every important for voters to remember the party symbol while choosing a candidate.”

Are the parties worried? It doesn’t seem so. Balram Patil, who was the runner-up from Panvel in 2009, told this paper, “Repetition of names won’t affect our vote base, as people are aware of our party symbol and the face of the candidate.”

During last assembly elections Panvel had a voter turn around of 61.64%, while Pen witnessed 72.65% and Alibaug recorded 70.65% of total voting.

The voting scene

Voter turnout
Panvel: 61.64%
Pen: 72.65%
Alibaug: 70.65%

Eligible voters this year
Panvel: 1,64,299
Pen: 1,77,753
Alibaug: 1,73,786


Amit Randive, a Panvel resident
This happens every year in Panvel. I’m just surprised why this happens only here and not in Mumbai

Amit Bhise, a Panvel resident
The only solution to this (situation) is educating voters about the candidates and their parties

Manohar Limaye, a Panvel resident
Chances of votes splitting are higher when people, specially from rural areas, remember candidates only by name and not by party symbol

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