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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Namesakes try to muddle the plot

Updated on: 13 May,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

As SC refuses to bar namesake candidates from fray, established leaders say mischief could influence results

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Namesakes try to muddle the plot

(From left) Sanjay Dina Patil, Shiv Sena UBT, Sanjay B. Patil (NPP), Sanjay Saoji Deshpande (RPI), Sanjay Patil (Independent), Sanjay Pandurang Patil (Independent) and Sanjay Mahadev Patil (Independent)

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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Namesakes try to muddle the plot

Identical candidate names cause ballot confusion in Mumbai’s election campaign. Party workers warn that namesake candidates could influence voter decisions across constituencies to some extent, adding complexity to the electoral process. Despite all this confusion and chaos, nothing can be done about it. As last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking to bar candidates with similar names from the fray.

While the presence of namesakes among candidates is not uncommon in elections, it has raised concerns among many. In the 2024 general elections, the Mumbai North East constituency witnessed an unusual scenario, with five individuals named Sanjay Patil filing their nominations. Among them, one is Sanjay Dina Patil, representing the Shiv Sena (UBT), while the remaining four are independent candidates bearing the same name. However, the nominations of two Sanjay Patils—Sanjay Mahadev Patil and Sanjay Pandurang Patil—were rejected, leaving two others, Sanjay Patil, 43, from Navi Mumbai and Sanjay B Patil, 51, from Uran, still in contention. 

Two Arvind Sawants will be contesting  the Mumbai South constituencyTwo Arvind Sawants will be contesting  the Mumbai South constituency

A Shiv Sena (UBT) party worker expressed concern, stating, “This makes it clear how our rivals are resorting to such tactics out of fear for our candidate, attempting to confuse voters. It’s worrisome, as some electors will get confused and overlook the candidate they originally wanted to vote for.”

Sanjay Dina Patil, contesting on the Sena (UBT) ticket against the BJP’s Mihir Kotecha in the Mumbai North East constituency, initially reacted with shock upon learning of the situation. 

Among three Varsha Gaikwads contesting Mumbai North Central Constituency, two have been rejected Among three Varsha Gaikwads contesting Mumbai North Central Constituency, two have been rejected 

He said, “It was shocking to me at first. Everyone has the right to contest elections in this democratic country. However, this cannot be a coincidence; it appears to be a ploy by our rivals. But it won’t benefit them.” In another instance, two Arvind Sawants emerged as candidates in Mumbai South constituency. One is the incumbent and veteran of Shiv Sena (UBT), Arvind Sawant, while the other is a 55-year-old resident of Jogeshwari sharing the same name. 

Sawant of Sena (UBT) said, “Whatever this game is, it won’t work. People know me, they’ve witnessed my work, and they recognise our election symbol. The citizens are smart.”

When reached for comment, Arvind Narayan Sawant, the namesake candidate, said, “I am the son of a mill worker. We’ve witnessed the hardships faced by our father and other mill workers. I urge people not to judge me based on my name. My symbol is the chimney. The genuine reason for my candidacy in the Mumbai South Constituency is that the incumbent has failed to deliver any meaningful progress. Despite being a former union leader, he has neglected mill workers and their families.”

In Mumbai South Arvind Sawant is contesting against Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) candidate and Byculla MLA Yamini Jadhav. The phenomenon of namesakes entering the electoral arena created confusion in the Mumbai North Central constituency as well, where three Varsha Gaikwads submitted their nominations. Alongside Indian National Congress candidate and former education minister Varsha Eknath Gaikwad, two others—Varsha Bhagwan Gaikwad, 32, and Varsha Mahadev Gaikwad, 28, both residents of Jalna—also entered the fray from the same constituency. 

Both Varsha Gaikwads contesting as independents not only hail from the same district, Jalna, but also from the same taluka, Mantha. The nominations of these two namesakes were subsequently rejected. A Congress worker from Dharavi said, “What a coincidence! Not only do their names match, but the fact that these two individuals hail from Jalna, the same taluka, and have chosen to contest from a constituency in a different city and district from their residences, is too much of a coincidence. Also, it’s worth noting that most of the cases that have come to the fore are namesakes of candidates of the INDI Alliance,” he said. Gaikwad is contesting against BJP candidate Ujwal Nikam.

Meanwhile, in Maval, which will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13, an independent candidate, 28-year-old Sanjog Patil, a resident of Uran, has filed a nomination against Sanjog Bhiku Waghere Patil, a candidate of the Shiv Sena (UBT).

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