BJP wins Surat MP seat unopposed after Congress candidates rejected, rest withdraw

Surat Congress candidates forms were rejected by returning officer and remaining eight candidates withdrew soon after

By Kaniza Garari  Published on  22 April 2024 3:04 PM GMT
BJP wins Surat MP seat unopposed after Congress candidates rejected, rest withdraw

Surat/New Delhi: Victory came early for BJP in Surat. The BJP MP candidate Mukesh Dalal was declared as elected unopposed by the Election Commission on Monday in Surat after being left with no one to contest against.

While the Congress candidate form was rejected by the returning officer, the remaining eight candidates withdrew their candidacy soon after, setting a precedent for the rest of the Lok Sabha elections. There were four independents and three smaller parties who had fielded candidates.

Why was Congress candidate disqualified?

Congress fielded Nilesh Kumbhani whose forms were rejected after preliminary examination as there were 'inconsistencies in the signatures of the proposers.' The Congress party then fielded Suresh Padsala whose candidature was declared invalid by the returning officer.

Who is BJP Mukesh Dalal?

Mukesh Dalal is the general secretary of BJP Surat wing. Dalal is the former standing committee chairman of Surat Municipal Corporation. Hailing from the Modh Vanik community, he has been active in the Bharatiya Janata Party since 1981. He was a councillor of SMC for three terms from 2005 to 2020.

Independents withdrew

According to sources, after the two Congress nominees were rejected by the returning officer, the other independent candidates also withdrew their nominations. The reason for the other candidates to withdraw their nomination is being seen as an alleged ‘match-fixing’ by the BJP.

Allegations of ‘underhand dealing’ and ‘exchange of money’ for withdrawal of candidature by independents are doing rounds in political circles.

A senior Congress leader in Gujarat alleged, “The independents were vying for money and they have been paid what they demanded. The price quoted by independents ranges from Rs 20 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs. For that reason, the nominations were withdrawn.”

Congress leaders state that BJP Gujarat president CR Patil allegedly created a situation where they were not even able to take their candidate to Ahmedabad to present before the state chief election commissioner.

Role of returning officer questioned

Questions are being raised on the role of returning officers and the electoral process followed in the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. There are allegations of electoral officials ‘compromising’ for the BJP.

Congress says MSME owners not happy

Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary, in a long tweet thread on X, claimed that the MSME owners and the business community were not happy with the BJP.

“‘Aap chronology samajhiye’ (Understand the chronology): Surat District Election Officer rejects the Congress’ candidate for Surat Lok Sabha Nilesh Kumbhani’s nomination for ‘discrepancies in the verification of signatures of three proposers’. On similar grounds, officials reject the nomination of Suresh Padsala, the INC’s substitute candidate from Surat. The Congress is left without a candidate,” he said on X.

“All other candidates withdraw their nomination except the BJP’s candidate, Mukesh Dalal. The BJP candidate declared ‘elected unopposed’ from Surat Lok Sabha seat on April 22, 2024, nearly two weeks before polling on May 7, 2024,” Ramesh added.

“Our elections, our democracy, Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitution – all are under a generational threat. This is the most important election of our lifetime,” Ramesh said.

BJP has been winning Surat seat since 1984

Voting for all 26 constituencies in Gujarat is scheduled for May 7, but with the result of Surat seat already out, polling will be held on 25 seats. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won all 26 seats in Gujarat.

(with inputs from PTI)

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