Can a Candidate Contest From Two Seats Simultaneously?

Historically, it is not uncommon for a candidate to contest from two lok sabha constituencies. Recently, congress leader rahul gandhi filed his nomination from Raebareli after contesting from Kerala’s wayanad in the second phase on april 26. Not just rahul gandhi, odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has filed nomination from two seats – Kantabanji and Hinjili – in the simultaneous state assembly elections.


According to the Representation of people Act, 1951, an individual is legally permitted to simultaneously contest elections from the two lok sabha constituencies. Section 70 of the Representation of people Act stipulates that a candidate can hold only one seat at a time regardless of whether he or she has won from more than one seat. The provision bars individuals from contesting multiple seats in the lok sabha, ensuring representation is not concerned in the hands of one individual. It also promotes fair elections. A subsection, 33 (7), of the Act, allowing a candidate to contest from two seats, was introduced through an amendment in 1996. Prior to this, there was no bar on the number of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.

The individual can hold only one seat at a time if elected from both. If a candidate wins from two seats, a byelection is necessary from the seat he or she vacates. The opposition to a candidate contesting from many seats was basically due to the fact that many byelections had to be conducted after polls were over. Over the years, the election commission (EC) has supported arguments that candidates should be restricted to contesting from one seat, citing the waste of public money and resources in holding a bypoll if a candidate were to win both seats.

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