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BJP wins Surat LS poll unopposed, Cong cries foul, goes to EC

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 22, 2024 22:29 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party won its first seat in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, as its candidate Mukesh Dalal was on Monday declared elected from Surat, after the nomination of Congress candidate was rejected and other candidates withdrew from the fray. 

IMAGE: BJP's Mukesh Dalal collects his winning certificate, Surat, April 22, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Dalal won uncontested -- the election was scheduled on May 7 -- after the other candidates withdrew on Monday, the last day of withdrawal of papers. They included four Independents, three from smaller parties and Pyarelal Bharti of Bahujan Samaj Party.

On Sunday, the nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected after a preliminary examination revealed inconsistencies in the signatures of proposers, an election official said.

The nomination form of Suresh Padsala, the Congress's "substitute" candidate from Surat, was also invalidated.


"I declare that Mukeshkumar Chandrakant Dalal, sponsored by the BJP, has been duly elected to fill the seat in the house from Surat parliamentary constituency," election officer Saurabh Pardhi told reporters, after handing over the certificate of election to Dalal.

"Surat has presented the first Lotus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I congratulate our candidate for Surat Lok Sabha seat Mukesh Dalal for getting elected unopposed," state BJP president C R Paatil posted on X.

The Congress claimed the BJP was frightened by the anger of MSME owners and the business community and attempted "match-fixing" even in the Surat Lok Sabha seat which the ruling party has been winning since 1984.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that democracy is under threat.

"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.

A Congress candidate claimed that the BJP is trying to break the opposition using money acquired through corrupt means.

"People are watching this and they will give a befitting reply to the ruling party," said Congress candidate for Rajkot seat, Paresh Dhanani.

Paatil told reporters in Surat that going by the way people are extending their support to BJP, everyone is confident of achieving the target of 400 seats.

He said the BJP will win the remaining 25 seats in Gujarat, where voting will be held on May 7 in a single phase.

"Congress did a drama ahead of the election by claiming that the proposers of its candidate had been kidnapped. That allegation was refuted by their candidate himself. The party leaders then tried to put pressure on poll authorities and spread rumours. But, truth ultimately prevailed today,” Paatil said.

In the 2019 polls, BJP won all 26 constituencies in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. 

The Congress on Monday complained to the poll panel against the unopposed election of the BJP candidate in Surat, alleging it was done by exerting "wrong and undue influence" and demanded the poll process in the seat be restarted.

It claimed the BJP was frightened by the anger of MSME owners and the business community and attempted "match-fixing" even in the Surat Lok Sabha seat which the ruling party has been winning since 1984.

The Congress's retort came after the BJP's Mukesh Dalal was on Monday elected unopposed from Surat as all other candidates withdrew from the fray. The candidature of the Congress's Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected a day earlier after the district returning officer prima facie found discrepancies in the signature of the proposers.

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.

A delegation of Congress leaders met the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners and demanded that the election process in Surat be restarted as "wrong and undue influence" was being exerted.

"We have therefore requested the Election Commission to postpone the election in Surat and redo the election shorty to send a clear message that you cannot take advantage of this kind of wrong undue influence," Congres spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters after meeting the ECs.

"This is not a case where an election petition will decide the matter later on. This is the case of no election by complete subordination of the democratic will of several contestants and several proposals. It is a case of patent bad faith and undue pressure," he alleged.

Singhvi also claimed that in Surat, the Congress candidate was nominated by four proposals, "but, suddenly all four stood up and denied their signatures".

"All four together. This is no coincidence. The candidate is missing for many hours and by the time he resurfaces we find that every other candidate has withdrawn his candidature, every one of them. His candidature is rejected by the returning officer."

"If you don't want to have an election in this country and you want to hand over Surat on a platter then why go through the process of elections? Why notify the elections?" he asked.            

Taking a swipe at the BJP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "The dictator's asli surat (true face) is once again bared in front of the country."

"Taking away the people's right to elect their leader is another step towards destroying the Constitution of Babasaheb Ambedkar. I am once again saying -- this is not just an election to form a government, this is an election to save the country, this is an election to protect the Constitution," he said in Hindi in a post on X.

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India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024