Call it a political equivalent of spread betting, or simply a strategy to extend their sphere of influence- Indian political bigwigs often contest elections from two seats as provisioned by Sec 33 of the Representation of People Act, 1952.
What happens after a politician wins both seats?
Well, they have to vacate one of the seats within 10 days, entailing a bye-election. So, if your elected representative happened to contest from two constituencies and decides to give up yours, you’ll have to vote all over again! Now a hypothetical alternative is to declare the first runner-up as the winner. In order to know which of these two would the Indian voters much rather prefer, we conducted a special poll. And here’s the result:
While a whopping 71.70% of respondents favor re-election as provisioned by the Act, just 28.3% were in favor of declaring the first runner-up as the new winner! The percentage of educated respondents favoring a by-poll was even larger.
So, when it comes to choosing their elected representative, Indian voters clearly refuse to settle for the second best in the event of their first-choice vacating their seat.