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Rajyavardhan strikes gold

- Bhutia, Azhar lose; victory for Prasun
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore celebrates his victory in the Lok Sabha polls with wife, in Jaipur, on Friday. (PTI)

New Delhi: It wasn’t exactly a happy day for sportspersons as three former India captains — Mohammed Azharuddin, Bhaichung Bhutia and Dilip Tirkey — suffered heavy defeats. But Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was a huge saving grace.

Another victor was former India football captain Prasun Banerjee. Banerjee retained his seat at Howrah constituency defeating CPIM’s Sridip Bhattacharya by a convincing 1.96 lakh votes. Rathore, a BJP candidate, humiliated high-profile Congressman and union minister CP Joshi with a winning margin of 3.32 lakh from the Jaipur-Rural constituency.

Azharuddin, a sitting Congress MP, contested from Tonk-Madhopur in Rajasthan, but suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP’s Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria by approx 1.35 lakh votes.

Bhaichung, however, succumbed the worst defeat among the three. A star Trinamul Congress candidate from the controversy-hit Darjeeling constituency, he lost to BJP’s SS Ahluwalia by a whopping 4.91 lakh votes.

The third high-profile candidate, former India hockey captain and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate from Sundergarh, Tirkey, lost by more than 70,000 votes to his nearest rival Juel Oram of the BJP.

Another seasoned politician and current Lok Sabha MP Kirti Azad won from Darbhanga, beating RJD’s Mohammed Ali Ashraf Fatmi by 1.67 lakh votes.

Congress candidate Mohammed Kaif was one of the worst performers. Contesting from the Phulpur constituency in UP, he came a distant fourth polling only 58,127.

The seat was won by Keshav Prasad Maurya of the BJP, who polled 5,03,564 votes.