Man who lost 238 times in bid for public office ready to contest elections again

K Padmarajan, 65, has contested elections for range of offices, from local council to Indian presidency, and lost all of them

Stuti Mishra
Friday 29 March 2024 15:39 GMT
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An Indian man who has contested 238 elections and lost every single one is set to embark on his 239th electoral campaign this year.

Known as India’s “elections king”, K Padmarajan, 65, has contested elections for a range of offices, from the local council to the Indian presidency, and lost all of them, making it to the Limca Book of Records as the country’s most unsuccessful candidate.

Undeterred by past defeats, he is preparing again to contest in the upcoming six-week-long general elections starting 19 April.

India will be choosing its new prime minister, and all surveys point to a predictable victory of Narendra Modi for the third time.

Mr Padmarajan’s candidacy for a parliamentary seat in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is bringing him headlines.

Despite never tasting victory, Mr Padmarajan is a local celebrity known for his thick moustache. He says real courage is in participating.

“All candidates seek victory in elections,” Mr Padmarajan told AFP news agency. “Not me.”

For him, the victory is in participating, and when his defeat inevitably comes, he is “happy losing”, he said.

K Padmarajan twirls his moustache while posing for a photograph at his office in Mettur, near Salem district in India’s Tamil Nadu state (AFP via Getty Images)

Over the years, he has waged electoral battles against prominent figures, including Indian prime ministers Narendra Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, as well as head of India’s biggest opposition party, Rahul Gandhi.

Beyond his political pursuits, Mr Padmarajan leads a modest life, running a tyre repair shop and offering homeopathic remedies. He also serves as an editor for local media outlets.

But he has paid a significant cost for his relentless pursuit to become a lawmaker. Mr Padmarajan says he has lost millions of rupees in deposits the candidates are supposed to make to be able to contest polls in India.

If the candidates fails to secure over 16 per cent of votes in the elections, they lose the deposit. According to Indian media outlets, he has lost over a crore rupees (£97,200).

This will be his 239th election from the Dharmapuri town in Tamil Nadu.

He put up his best show in 2011 when he received a total of 6,273 votes while contesting from his hometown Mettur, according to news channel India TV.

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