Did confusion over party symbol cost Sharad Pawar's NCP(SP) a Lok Sabha seat?

The Election Commission of India had allotted the symbol of a man blowing a trumpet to the NCP (SP) candidates.
Shashikant Shinde (Photo | Twitter)
Shashikant Shinde (Photo | Twitter)

Did confusion over the party symbol lead to the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) candidate Shashikant Shinde losing the Satara Lok Sabha seat? And did the same confusion also significantly reduce the victory margins of NCP (SP) candidates in other constituencies?

The Election Commission of India had allotted the symbol of a man blowing a trumpet to the NCP (SP) candidates. Meanwhile, rival parties smartly fielded independent candidates with the symbol of a trumpet, spreading confusion among rural and illiterate voters in ten Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. These independent candidates received a total of 4.14 lakh votes across 14 Lok Sabha seats.

NCP (SP) candidate Shashikant Shinde lost to BJP candidate Chhatrapati Udayan Raje Bhosale by 33,000 votes in the Satara Lok Sabha seat, where the unknown independent candidate Sanjay Gadhe, with the trumpet symbol, surprisingly garnered over 37,000 votes.

Shashikant Shinde (Photo | Twitter)
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In other Lok Sabha seats, this symbol significantly reduced the victory margins of NCP (SP) candidates in close and fiercely contested elections.

According to Election Commission data, in the Madha Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Dhairyashil Mohite Patil won by 1,10,228 votes against the BJP candidate. However, the candidate contesting on the trumpet symbol Ramchandra Ghatukade secured 58,421 votes.

In the Beed Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Bajrang Sonawane won by a margin of 6,053 votes against BJP candidate Pankaja Munde. Surprisingly, the relatively unknown independent candidate, Ashok Thorat, received 54,580 votes.

In the Raver Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Shriram Patil lost by 2.72 lakh votes to BJP candidate Raksha Khadse, while the independent candidate Eknath Salunkhe garnered 43,992 votes.

In the high-profile Baramati Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Supriya Sule won by 1,58,333 votes against NCP candidate Sunetra Pawar, while the candidate with the trumpet symbol Sohel Sheikh secured 14,117 votes.

In the Dindori Lok Sabha seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, NCP (SP) candidate Bhaskar Bhagre won by 1,13,119 votes against BJP candidate Bharati Pawar, while the candidate with the trumpet symbol Babu Bhagare received 1,03,632 votes.

In the Bhiwandi Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Balya Mama Suresh Gopinath Mhatre won by 66,121 votes against BJP candidate Kapil Patil, with the candidate the trumpet Kanchan Vakhare receiving 24,625 votes.

Shashikant Shinde (Photo | Twitter)
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In the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat, NCP (SP) candidate Nilesh Lanke won by 28,929 votes against BJP candidate Dr. Sujay Vikhe Patil, while the independent Goraksha Alekar secured 44,957 votes.

NCP (SP) leader and MLA Jitendra Awhad stated that they had complained to the Election Commission about the trumpet symbol given to independent candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, but no action was taken.

"We lost one seat due to this proxy symbol, and our victory margins were reduced in many constituencies. There was significant anti-incumbency against the BJP, which allowed our candidates to win with comfortable majorities, but in many places, it drastically reduced the victory margins and brought the contests closer. This is unfair, and an injustice was done to us," he alleged.

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