Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Alphons Kannanthanam. (File photos)
Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA gained a thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the camp was stunned by the loss of six Union ministers --- Hardeep Singh Puri, KJ Alphons, Anant Geete, Hansraj Ahir, Manoj Sinha and Pon Radhakrishnan.
Hansraj Ahir, a four-time sitting MP from Maharashtra, lost his traditional Chandrapur seat to Congress candidate Suresh Dhanorkar, which is the only seat Congress has won in the state. Ahir was was minister of state for home affairs. Dhanorkar, who was a Shiv Sena MLA, joined the Congress at the last moment and was fielded against Ahir only to win with a margin of 5 per cent votes. The total votes cast in the constituency were 928,905, of which, Dhanorkar got 420,629 votes while Ahir got 379,649 votes.
Anant Geete was a six-time sitting MP from Shiv Sena who lost on Thursday. He lost from the from Shiv Sena’s traditional Lok Sabha seats of Chandrapur. Union Cabinet minister for heavy industries and public sector enterprises. In Geete’s case, the anti-incumbency factor was high and he lost to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Sunil Tatkare with a gap of just 3 per cent votes. Geete got 4,52,925 votes while Tatkare got 4,84,507 votes.
Hardeep Singh Puri
Union Minister and BJP’s candidate for Punjab’s Amritsar, Hardeep Singh Puri, was defeated by Congress’ Gurjeet Singh Aujla. He was the Union minister of state for housing and urban development. Diplomat-turned-politician Puri faced a tough straight fight in the constituency dominated by the Jat community, and lost by over 100,000 votes. Often accompanied by Punjab BJP President Shwait Malik and other party leaders, Puri carried out a vigorous campaign in Amritsar from where the current Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley suffered an embarrassing defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Congress’ Amarinder Singh.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan was pushed by Congress candidate and millionaire businessman H Vasanthakumar to second spot in Kanyakumari constituency by a massive margin of 2,46,136 votes. In the 2014 general elections, P Radhakrishnan of the BJP defeated H Vasanthakumar of the Congress with a vote margin of 12.99% (1,28,622 votes).
Union Minister Manoj Sinha lost to BSP’s Afzal Ansariin Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over 1.19 lakh votes. Sinha lost to Ansari by a margin of 1,19,392 votes, the EC website said. While Sinha polled 4,46,690 votes, Ansari secured 5,66,082 votes. In 2014, Sinha won the seat by a margin of 32,452 votes. He was the MoS Railways in the Modi Cabinet.
Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Thursday failed in his maiden bid to enter the lower house of Parliament from Kerala, even as the BJP-led NDA made asweep in the Lok Sabha elections. The Minister of State for Tourism was defeated by Congress-led UDF candidate Hibi Eden, who is also a sitting MLA, in Ernakulam constituency. Eden won by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes against his nearest rival P Rajeev of CPI(M). A bureaucrat-turned-politician, Kannanthanam could finish only in the third position with around 1.37 lakh votes, way behind Eden and Rajeev who garnered over 4.91 lakh and 3.22 lakh votes, respectively. Kannanthanam is a member of the Rajya Sabha. A 1979 batch IAS officer, he had quit his high-profilecareer and plunged into electoral politics by successfully contesting from Kanjirappally in Kottayam district as a left independent candidate.
RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha lost to Mahabali Singh of JD(U) from Karakat. In 2014, Kushwaha, then with the NDA beat Kanti Singh of RJD by 1 lakh votes.
Ashok Gajapati Raju, the senior TDP leader and former Union Civil Aviation Minister in the NDA government,lost from Vizianagaram constituency.