Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 16 April 2024 2.13 PM IST

Camel or horse with a hump? Confusion in 1980 election that led to victory of Kerala Congress Joseph's elephant


KOTTAYAM: The first symbol of the Kerala Congress, born in 1964, was a horse. When the party split, PJ Joseph (Kerala Congress J) got the elephant symbol. In 1980, when both groups competed against each other, Joseph group is the one that emerged victorious. It was assessed that Joseph group's surprise victory was due to the confusion among voters when an independent candidate's camel symbol appeared on the ballot paper along with the horse symbol.

In the 1980 elections, the main opponents in the Muvatupuzha Lok Sabha constituency were sitting MP George J. Mathew (Kerala Congress M) and George Joseph (Kerala Congress J). A Horse symbol for George J Mathew and an Elephant symbol for George Joseph. Two Georges as independent candidates as well on which NV George's symbol was a camel.

George Joseph won the election with a majority of 4330 votes. Out of 36,30,229 votes polled, 4339 votes were invalid. Among independents, NV George got 11859 votes. Kerala Congress M assessed that the problem was that the horse and camel symbols, which are almost similar in appearance, were mistaken for each other by many people.

Many people including people with poor eye sight did not pay attention to the hump on the back of the camel and voted for it thinking it is a horse. With that, the independent candidate with the camel symbol got more than eleven thousand votes. As those who doubted whether they made a mistake changed their vote for the horse, the number of invalids also increased. There was a discussion among voters that day when some people who came out after voting raised doubts on 'why does that horse have a hump on its back?'.

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