Yes! Politicians can contest in 2 constituencies at the same time in Parliamentary or state elections. Very recently, this issue has raised doubts after the Chief Minister of Telangana announced that he will contest from Gujwel and Karminagar. However, the BJP leaders readily criticized his decision. They remarked that he has decided to contest in 2 constituencies as he is not confident of his win from his constituency. On the contrary, they forgot that Prime Minister Modi also did the same in the Parliamentary elections.
Sometimes, even very senior political leaders choose to contest from two constituencies. Most of the people opine that those who do it are the ones who are not confident about winning. Little do the politicians understand that due to their lack of courage and conviction to win the seat, they are making a mockery of the electoral system. Moreover, it’s a huge burden on the taxpayers.
Advantages for the politicians:
- Multiplier effect: When a strong contender contests from a constituency, the chances of their parties’ candidates in surrounding seats also increase. The advertisements, visibility, and PR activities in the region become in favour of their political party.
- Fallback option: If a politician loses any one seat, they have the option of getting into the Lok Sabha or the Assembly through the second seat.
- Increases the presence of the politician in a region: The politicians can create a wave in the region, which would help the political party.
Earlier, the candidates could run in any number of constituencies. But implications were made in the system in 1951, where a person is allowed to contest polls, whether a general election, more than one by-election, or biennial elections, from a maximum of two seats.
What happens when a politician wins both seats?
When a politician wins both seats, they must vacate one within ten days, triggering a by-election, as stated under section 70 of the Representation of the People Act.
However, this is just a waste of the taxpayers’ money.