Cakewalk for Mukesh Dalal in Surat

BJP, Congress, Lok Sabha Elections, 2024, Political Pulse, Surat

Surat: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mukesh Dalal has been elected unopposed from Gujarat’s Surat Lok Sabha constituency. In a tweet, Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil said: “Surat has offered the first lotus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congratulations to Surat Lok Sabha candidate Mukeshbhai Dalal for being elected unopposed.”

Dalal was declared the winner a day after the nomination papers of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani were cancelled over alleged discrepancies in the signatures of proposers in the form. Congress had fielded a substitute candidate, Suresh Padsala. But Padsala’s papers were also cancelled.

After Congress candidates were out of the race, eight candidates withdrew their candidature. “As all the eight candidates who had successfully filed their nomination for the Surat Lok Sabha seat have withdrawn their candidature, Dalal has been elected unopposed. We will soon announce his win,” Returning Officer Sourabh Pardhi told The Hindustan Times.

On Sunday, Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil alleged the nomination form of the party’s candidate from Surat was rejected at the behest of BJP.

Gohil said the Congress will file a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the Returning Officer’s decision to cancel the nomination form.

Congress was pushed out of the poll fray from the Surat constituency as the nomination form of Suresh Padsala, the substitute candidate from Surat, was also invalidated.

In his order, Returning Officer Sourabh Pardhi said the four nomination forms submitted by Kumbhani and Padsala were rejected after, prima facie, discrepancies were found in the signatures of the proposers, and they did not appear genuine.

The proposers, in their affidavits, stated that they had not signed the forms themselves.

Dinesh Jodhani, the election agent of Mukesh Dalal, had objected to the nomination forms of Kumbhani on Saturday, after which the returning officer granted time to the Congress candidate to appear before it on Sunday morning to present his case.

In his reply, Kumbhani submitted that the proposers had put their signatures in his presence, and their signatures should be examined by a handwriting expert. They also should be cross-examined for the benefit of justice, he said.

The returning officer ordered the rejection of the nomination forms after considering the affidavits submitted by the proposers and related evidence and after ascertaining the identity of the proposers and ensuring they were not threatened or were under pressure.

Even the presence of the signatories was not found in the video footage examined at the request of the Congress candidate’s lawyer, the Returning Officer stated.

The Congress is contesting 24 of 26 seats in Gujarat while two constituencies are allotted to AAP as per the seat-sharing deal.


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