New Delhi: From Pragya Singh Thakur of the BJP to Azam Khan of the SP, candidates who stoked controversies during the 2019 general election campaign have won from their respective seats. These candidates courted controversies during the high-voltage campaign spread over two months, at times forcing the Election Commission to bar some of them from campaigning or inviting scrutiny from their own party’s leadership.
BJP’s Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, won by a margin of 3,64,822 votes from Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal constituency, according to results declared by the Election Commission. She was recently in the news for lauding Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “patriot”.
Thakur got 8,66,482 votes in the constituency, considered a stronghold of BJP, against her nearest rival Digvijaya Singh of the Congress. Singh got 5,01,279 votes. Thakur also had to apologise for her remarks on Hemant Karkare, the IPS officer killed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, that she had “cursed” him for torturing her and falsely implicating her in the Malegaon case.
She was temporarily banned from campaigning for her hate remarks by the Election Commission. In 2014, BJP’s Alok Sanjar had won the seat by a margin of 3,70,696 votes. Congress’s Digvijaya Singh is not new to controversies either. In March this year, just as the country was gearing up for elections, he said the Pulwama terror attack was an “accident”.
In Uttar Pradesh, Samjwadi Party’s Azam Khan has won from Rampur constituency by over one lakh votes. He had attracted widespread ire for his sexist jibes against his one-time colleague and actor-politician Jaya Prada, his rival on the seat who joined the BJP before the election.
“People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and people of India, it took you 17 years to understand her reality. But I could recognise in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear,” he said, without naming her. Khan, who is facing an FIR for the remark, got 5,59,177 votes against Jaya Prada’s 4,49,180 votes.
BJP’s Nepal Singh had won the seat by a margin of 23,435 votes in 2014 elections. In Bihar, BJP’s Giriraj Singh won from Begusarai by a margin of 4,22,217 votes. His main rival was CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar, who got 2,69, 976 votes against Singh’s 6,92,193 that include 4,616 postal ballots.
Giriraj Singh has been stoking controversies too. In March, the veteran BJP leader was reported as saying that those not attending the rally of the prime minister, to be held that month, would be deemed anti-national. He, however, himself remained absence from that very rally.
The Begusarai seat was won by BJP’s Bhola Singh by a margin of 58,335 votes in 2014 polls. In the South, BJP’s Nalin Kumar Kateel won from Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannanda constituency. The BJP candidate and sitting MP from Dakshina Kannada dove into the Godse controversy by comparing the assassin with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this??” Kateel tweeted, equating Godse, 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab and Rajiv Gandhi. He later retracted his remarks. Kateel won the constituency by a margin of 2,74,621 votes. His main rival Mithun M Rai of Congress got 4,99,664 votes whereas the winning candidates Kateel got 7,74,285 votes.
The BJP reprimanded him as well as Union minister Anantkumar Hegde, its candidate in Uttara Kannada in Karnataka, who also tweeted on Godse but later deleted it. Hegde, who is also the sitting Lok Sabha member from the constituency, won the seat by getting 7,86,042 votes and defeated Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Anand Asnotikar.
BJP’s young leader Tejasvi Surya, contesting from Karnataka’s Bangalore South constituency, has also been declared a winner. Surya made several controversial statements over the past one year, retracting some and deleting some. “Oh Hindus! When will you understand that a vote to today’s Congress is a vote for yesterday’s Muslim League? It’s sad that this country treats a patriot like Veer Savarkar, who endured the greatest of pains for the motherland, in this manner. 2019 has so much at stake!” he tweeted recently.
Surya won the seat by getting 7,39,229 votes and defeated Congress’s B K Hariprasad. In 2014, the seat was won by BJP’s Ananth Kumar, who died last year. BJP’s Gurdaspur candidate and Bollywood star Sunny Deol has also won. He got 5,58,719 votes, including 7,542 postal votes. Deol defeated Congress’s Sunil Jakhar, who got 4,76,260 votes. The seat was won by BJP’s Vinod Khanna in 2014. Deol was in the news for giving an unusual reply on Balakot strikes, saying he didn’t know much but only wanted to serve the people.