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India polls: Clone candidates clutter constituency contests

Published on Apr 17, 2014 2:47 PM
 
A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Ajmer district in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan on April 17, 2014. Voters in a parliamentary constituency in western India could be forgiven for asking the real candidates to please stand up. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MAVAL, India (Reuters) - Voters in a parliamentary constituency in western India could be forgiven for asking the real candidates to please stand up.

The race in Maval, a constituency of 1.9 million voters in Maharashtra state, has two real contenders: One is Mr Shrirang Barne of the Shiv Sena, an ally of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is on track to form the next government. The other is Mr Laxman Jagtap of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), an ally of the ruling Congress Party.

Yet the ballot has a total of five men sharing those names. Such "clone" candidates are often fielded to gain an edge by splitting the vote of political rivals.

"They want to confuse the voters and eat into each other's share," said Mr Mohan Kadu, the presiding officer for the election commission in Maval.

 
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