New Delhi: With political heavyweights like BJP president Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former union minister Shashi Tharoor and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav contesting in the 117 parliamentary constituencies across 15 states, today’s third phase of Lok Sabha elections promises to host the most sought-after electoral battles. Amid these high-octane electoral battles are two union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli where people will cast their votes away from media glare and fanfare.
Daman & Diu, represented by one Lok Sabha constituency, has a total population of 2,43,247 which includes an urban majority of 75 per cent. It was under Portuguese rule for the last four centuries till as recently as 1961, and later became part of Goa, Daman and Diu union territory. Post the implementation of the Goa, Daman & Diu Reorganisation Act of 1987, Daman & Diu as a union territory came in to existence. Its first by-election was in 1987 and it was won by the Indian National Congress (INC).
The union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, situated between Gujarat to the north and Maharashtra to the south, is reserved for candidates from Scheduled Tribe communities which constitute more than 50 percent of its population. It has only one parliamentary constituency, with nearly two lakh electors. The Lok Sabha seat of Dadra & Nagar Haveli came in to existence in 1967 and has since been won most times by the Congress. However, independent candidates have also been fairly successful in this union territory.
In 2014, Daman & Diu — that has a total number of 1,11,827 electors, of which 57,011 were males and 54, 816 were females —saw a voter turnout of 78.01 per cent. Two-time BJP MP Lalubhai Babubhai Patel won here with a margin of 9,222 votes, followed by Congress’s Ketan Dahyabhai Patel, who got a vote share of 43.26 per cent. In the third position was AAP’s Kessur Goan, who got a mere 729 votes.
Lalubhai Patel first contested as a BJP candidate in 2009 and won by a margin of 24.838 votes, followed by D. Vallabhbhai Patel of the Congress with 28.97 per cent votes. In 2009, there were a total of 95,382 electors and the voter turnout was 71.32 percent.
On the other hand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli in 2014 had 1,96,597 electorates and saw a voter turnout of 84.09 per cent. BJP’s Patel Natubhai Gomanbhai won the elections and was followed by Delkar M Sanjibhai from the Congress. Gomanbhai had won the 2009 elections too with a margin of mere 618 votes.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, prominent candidates in the fray in Daman & Diu are Congress party’s Ketan Dahyabhai Patel, BJP’s Lalubhai Patel, Sakil Latif Khan of the BSP and Patel Umeshbhai Babubhai, who is contesting as an independent candidate.
The BJP’s decision to re-nominate Patel in Daman was opposed by a section of the local unit. The entry of Umesh Patel and Sakil Khan in the election arena has made it a tough pitch for the BJP this time around.
In Dadra & Nagar Haveli, tribal leader Mohanbhai Delkar, a six-term member of the Lok Sabha who lost to BJP’s Natubhai Patel, is in the fray again as an independent candidate.