The Election Commission on Monday rejected the nomination papers of the Congress candidate for Visavadar for not providing original mandate in time, paving the way for a straight fight between former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate.
Ratibhai Mangroliya from Congress had filed nomination papers on November 23 and submitted a faxed copy of the mandate (which certifies the person as the party's official candidate). The copy was given after the original was snatched away by an unidentified youth from the hand of Congress district president Leelabhai Khunti at the sub divisional magistrate's office.
"The nomination of the Congress candidate was rejected after he failed to provide mandate forms on the last date for the filing of nomination papers on November 24," Returning Officer K S Ghelot said on Monday.
After the mandate was snatched away, the Gujarat Congress headquarters had faxed the copy and which was submitted with the nomination papers. The party on Monday said it would challenge the EC's decision to reject the faxed copy.
"We have decided to file a writ petition in the Gujarat high court," Khunti said. In the absence of the Congress' candidate, the contest would be between GPP president Keshubhai Patel and BJP's sitting MLA Kanubhai Bhalala.
The BJP has alleged that the theft of the mandate was part of an 'understanding' between Patel -- who recently quit the saffron party to take on Chief Minister Narendra Modi -- and the Congress.