Think twice before you jump into electoral fray

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

Delhi assembly poll has thrown more than one surprise verdict. Apart from denying anyone absolute majority, the poll threw up a whopping 75 percent candidates who lost their deposit with the Election Commission of India (ECI).

This means three out of every four candidates suffered a rather humiliating defeat in the polls.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of Lok Sabha polls between 1951 and 2009 shows that there has been a steady rise in number of candidates who lost their deposits. The number of candidates that lost their deposits in Lok Sabha elections has increased from 39.75 per cent in 1951 to 84.62 per cent in 2009.

The 2013 assembly polls in Delhi, however, witnessed an overall decline in number of non-serious players since 1998 state polls. Out of 808 candidates in fray in 2013, deposits of 610 candidates got forfeited. The forfeiture came into play since they failed to get even one-sixth of the total valid votes polled.

Out of the 70 constituencies in Delhi, Burari witnessed a record forfeiture of 20 candidates. Patel Nagar constituency recorded a single forfeiture.

In assembly polls of 1998, the total number of candidates in Delhi was 815, of which 669 lost their deposits (82.09 per cent). In 2003, 672 out of total 817 candidates lost their deposits (82.25 per cent). Moreover, in 2008 state polls, 711 out of 875 contenders did not save their deposits (81.26 per cent).

According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), a security deposit has to be made by the candidate at the time of filing the nomination. If the candidate fails to get a minimum of one-sixth of the total valid votes polled the deposit goes to the treasury.

As per the section 34(1) (b), of Representation of People`s Act 1951, in assembly election every candidate is required to deposit Rs. 5000. However, candidates belonging to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe are required to make a deposit of Rs. 2500.

In Lok Sabha election, the security deposit for a contestant is Rs. 10,000. However, in case of SC/ST candidates the deposit is only Rs 5,000. The security deposit for general and reserved category candidates was Rs 500 and Rs 250 respectively until early 1996. The security deposit amount was raised for candidates contesting parliamentary and assembly elections respectively in August 1996.

While assembly elections in Delhi witnessed a drop in candidates losing their deposits, in general elections the figure has been on the rise.

In general election of 1951, the total number of contesting candidates was 1874 of which 745 candidates lost their deposits (39.75 per cent). In 1957 it was slightly down to 32.52 per cent with 494 candidates losing their deposits of all the 1519 contesting candidates.

By 1984 general elections the number of candidates forfeiting their deposits had gone up to 80.25 per cent. Of the total number of 5312 candidates 4263 lost their deposits.

The highest number of deposit forfeiters was seen during the general elections of 1996 when 90.94 per cent of candidates lost their deposits. In 1996, 12688 candidates lost their deposits of all 13952 in the fray.

In 1998 the number of candidates that lost their deposits slid down to 3486 (73.38 per cent) out of total 4750. In 1999 the number of candidates forfeiting their deposits was 3400 (73.14 per cent) from 4648. Likewise in 2004, 4218 (77.61 per cent) out of 5435 contenders lost their deposits.

Interestingly in 2009 Lok Sabha election, 6829 (84.62 per cent) of all 8070 candidates did not save their deposits.

This has been the highest number of forfeitures post 1998 general elections.

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