A staggering 1,268 candidates who contested the recently concluded assembly elections, forfeited their deposits, which is among the highest ever in Gujarat, Election Commission data show.
A total of 1,666 candidates had contested from 182 assembly constituencies in the two-phase elections on December 13 and 17, of whom 1,268 candidates – 76% of the total - forfeited their deposits.
Only 398 candidates, including the 182 winning nominees, did not lose their deposits. Apart from the runners-up on each seat, there were only 34 other candidates who didn’t lose their deposit, another strong indicator of the fact that assembly elections in Gujarat are a bi-polar affair.
“The deposit of a candidate who fails to secure 10% or more of the total votes polled is forfeited. The number of such candidates was 1,268 in the 2012 assembly elections,” an Election Commission official said.
This number is the third highest in the state ever. In 1995 elections, 2,127 out of 2,545 candidates had forfeited their deposits, while in 1990, out of 1,889 candidates, 1,461 had lost it. The BJP had started emerging as a force to reckon with in Gujarat in 1990, while it had stormed to power in 1995.
In 2012 polls, there were as many as 39 seats, from where 10 or more candidates lost their deposits. Eighteen of the 20 candidates in Limbayat seat of Surat lost their deposits, while the number was 17 out of 19 in Jetpur seat of Rajkot.
In Himmatnagar, which saw minister of state for home Praful Patel lose, 16 candidates lost their deposits. Fifteen of the 17 contesting candidates in Dhoraji and Khambhalia also forfeited their deposits.
Two sitting MLAs were among those who had to let go of their deposits. Former BJP MLA Dr Kanu Kalsaria, who was the face of farmers’ agitation against Nirma cement plant in Bhavnagar, lost his deposit from Gariadhar seat.
Chandu Vaghasia, who contested from Gondal on an NCP ticket, also met the same fate. However, in Vaghasia’s defence, he had already declared support for GPP candidate Gordhan Zadaphia.
Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader and former home minister late Haren Pandya, who had contested on a GPP ticket from Ellisbridge constituency, also forfeited her deposit.