A look-alike of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands in front of a hoarding featuring Indian National Congress Party President Rahul Ghandi in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

What’s In a Name? Spoiler Candidates Hamper Poll: India Votes

(Bloomberg) --

Rahul Gandhi, president of the main opposition Congress party, will not only have to compete with two serious contenders but several others who share his famous last name.

He will fight independent candidate K.E. Rahul Gandhi, little-known regional party member K. Raghul Gandhi and another independent candidate who goes by the name of K.M. Shivprasad Gandhi, along with others in Wayanad in the southern state of Kerala. The final list of candidates will be drawn up on Monday, the last date for withdrawal.

What’s In a Name? Spoiler Candidates Hamper Poll: India Votes

Gandhi is contesting from Kerala, along with his traditional Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh.

Rivals field dummy candidates in a bid to confuse voters at the polling booth, thereby reducing their chances of winning. In some cases, these candidates are put up to circumvent the ceiling on election spending.

In Maharashtra’s Hingoli constituency, Congress candidate Subhash Wankhede is facing as many as five namesakes. In the last election in 2014, Bollywood actress Hema Malini faced another independent candidate with a similar name, while Chandu Lal Sahu of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party faced 10 namesakes in his constituency in Chhattisgarh state.

As part of electoral reforms, the Election Commission is using candidate’s photographs along with symbols for the first time to curb this menace.


  • BJP to release its manifesto Monday
  • Congress promises to provide 72,000 rupees ($1,046) annually to poor families
  • India’s communist party to halt sale of state companies if it wins elections


StateBJP AllianceCongress AllianceOthersRemarks
Uttar Pradesh--SP, BSP, RLD
Tamil NaduAIADMK & othersDMK & others-
MaharashtraShiv SenaNCP
KarnatakaJanata Dal(S)
Assam & North EasternAGP, BPF, NPP, NDPPINPT
Jammu & KashmirNational Conference


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  • BJP says choice between decisive Modi & opposition chaos in campaign theme: PTI
  • Enforcement agencies must act neutrally, election commission says: HT


  • In Uttar Pradesh, that sends maximum lawmakers to the Indian parliament, BJP has a slight edge at the moment, research analysts of Motilal Oswal, said in a note dated April 4 after a road trip to the most populous state.
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  • "If the prime minister was serious about the welfare of the poor, they would not have been inaugurating schemes after polls were announced. They would have performed during their five years,” Mayawati, leader of Bahujan Samaj Party, said at a rally on Sunday.
  • “Joblessness in Tamil Nadu is a concern,” said T.K.S. Elangovan, a spokesman for the Congress party’s partner Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Chennai, adding he expects the BJP to lose 150 seats from its 2014 tally. “Engineers have no jobs and are going to work for Swiggy as food delivery boys.”
  • "Truth is a powerful thing. I challenge you to a debate on corruption,” Gandhi said in a tweet to Modi.


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  • Inside India’s Colossal, Colorful, Tough-to-Predict Election
  • Modi Hopes $27 Billion Bet on Women Will Swing Election His Way


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