Category Archives: Visualisations

Duplicate names

In a country that sends one MP per 1.5 Million voters, what are the chances that candidates with similar names contest against each other?
And, what are the chances that only 1 of the candidates is represents a political party and rest are independents candidates? That’s not normal, or is it?

Of the 385 constituencies we have analysed so far for 2014 General Elections, there are 11 such Lok Sabha constituencies where independent candidates with same name are contesting against a mainstream political party’s candidate. Call it an absolute coincidence or a definite work of dirty tricks department to confuse voters voting for rival candidate, Election Commission of India has some fact-checking to be done at these constituencies. We have seen in our previous analysis, victory margins have come down over the years. So, in this elections, even a few hundred votes of confusion can tilt the victory either ways.

Topping this list is the Mahasamund Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh – where BJP’s Chandu Lal Sahu not only has to fight INC’s Ajit Jogi, but also another 10 Chandu Lal Sahus who are in fray as  independents.

Next comes Bilaspur, again from Chhattisgarh – where BJP’s Lakhan Lal Sahu has to fight against INC’s Karuna Shukla and another 4 Lakhan Lal Sahus, who are also contesting as independents. Even the new-comer Jarnail Singh of AAP from West Delhi has 2 other independent namesakes in fray. Interestingly, of the 11 Lok Sabha constituencies, BJP is the most affected party at 6 constituencies and INC isn’t affected at all. Here’s the list of 11 such Lok Sabha constituencies.
Duplicate names

Now, only on May 16th we would get to know if voters at large were confused with the names at these places or was it the party name/symbol that mattered the most for the voter.

What’s in a name

Even simple information such as the names of candidates can provide a rich field for analysis. (For example, a few years ago, we conducted a similar analysis on the names of students in Tamil Nadu, and found that north Indian surnames consistently outperform.)

Even simple things such as the pattern in the length of names lend themselves to analysis.

State-wise name length

Gujarat is among the states whose candidates have rather long names. Rajendrasinh Ghanshyamsinh Rana (Rajubhai Rana) of BJP who won at Bhavnagar is an example of such a name. In Maharashtra, Bhonsle Shrimant Chh. Udyanraje Pratapsinhmaharaj of NCP who won at Satara is another such example.

At the other extreme, G.D. is the full official name of a BSP candidate at Tikamgarh, MP – the shortest name in our elections. Several candidates in Utttar Pradesh (Anil, Aman, Asha, Boby) and Kerala (Babu, Baby) have 4-letter names.

Here’s a map of the length of the candidate names – darker regions representing longer candidate names, and lighter regions the shorter names.



Name frequencyThe most common name among candidates was Om Prakash – with 122 such candidates (spelt also as Om Parkash). This is apart from several Om Prakash Singhs, Om Prakash Sharmas and others.

Ashok Kumar is the second most popular name, followed by Ram Singh.

This can possibly lead to confusion at the ballot. For example, at Kollam, Kerala, there were two people named N. Peethambarakurup – one the Congress candidate (who won) and the other an independent. At Thiruvallur, TN, Badaun, UP,  and in several other places, there were other candidates with the exact same name as the winning candidate. However, in none of the cases did the doppelganger receive enough votes to make a difference to the victory.

Word cloud

Breaking up the names, the surname or middle name Singh is by far the most common among all candidates.

Name trends

Over the years, the “Singh”s have the strongest representation among the candidates, though the “Kumar”s have grown steadily and significantly to take the second rank. The representation of the “Lal”s has declined from second rank to third, the “Nath”s from 3rd to5th, and the “Das”s from 5th to 7th. The representation of “Yadav”s has grown steadily as well.

Name ranks

We rarely come across data that is useless or irrelevant. Most data, even plain text, even the names of candidates, can yield insights if looked at in different ways.

Hopefully, this post will inspire some of you to look at your data with a different lens.

A historic election day

Today, on 17 Apr 2014, 121 constituencies are going for elections.This is the day on which the largest number of constituencies are voting. Last election, by votes, these constituencies polled over 9.4 crore votes. Given electoral growth and increased turnouts, it seems safe to say more than 10 crore votes (100 million) will be cast on the same day for the first time in our history.

Election Schedule


Today, all 28 of Karnataka’s constituencies are voting. Most of Rajasthan’s (20 of 28) constituencies are voting too. The rest of the 121 constituencies are split across a 10 other states. In terms of number of states covered, this is a pretty large election as well – second only to last week’s 10th April elections where 14 states were covered.

State-wise breakup

Last year, BJP won in 44 of the 121 constituencies polling today, followed by the Congress, which won in 37.

2009 Results Map

Karnataka was swept by BJP, whereas Congress had the clear majority in Rajasthan. The table below shows the results for these 121 constituencies by State and Party. The cells coloured in green indicate the party that won the largest number of seats in that constituency.

2009 Results Partywise

The closest of these elections last year were Davangene, Karnataka where Siddeswara of BJP won by just 2,024 votes (0.2% margin) against S S Mallikarjuna of Congress; and Buxar, Bihar, where Jagada Nand Singh of RJD won against Lal Muni Choubey of BJP by 2,238 votes (0.4%).

On the other hand, at Baramati, Maharashtra, Supriya Sule of NCP easily won against Kanta Jaysing Nalawade of BJP with over 3.4 lakh votes – a 46% margin of victory. At Madha, Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar of NCP won against Subhash Deshmukh of BJP with over 3 lakh votes – a 34% margin.

Several other prominent figures such as Devegowda, Jaswant singh, Madhavrao Scindia, Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha, etc contested and won elections in these constituencies.

Whatever be the result, please do go out and vote on this historic day when 10 crore citizens exercise their franchise.