BJP candidate wins Surat seat as candidature of Cong nominee rejected

Wednesday 24th April 2024 08:48 EDT

A day after the nomination of the Congress candidate from Surat was rejected, the BJP’s Mukesh Dalal was declared elected uncontested from the Lok Sabha seat, after the eight remaining nominees withdrew one by one.

While four of them were Independents, three belonged to little-known parties and one was a candidate of the BSP. Surat City BSP president Satish Sonavne alleged the hand of the BJP in the withdrawal of its nominee, Pyarelal Bharti. on Monday as the last day for withdrawal of nominations.

It is rare for candidates to win uncontested in Lok Sabha elections, with only 23 such known instances before this since Independence (not counting bypolls) as per the Election Commission website. Of these, 10 won in the first two elections, 1951-1952 and 1957, when the pool of candidates was small. Dalal is the first ever BJP leader to win uncontested.

Before Dalal was declared the winner, the Congress moved the Election Commission, seeking that it postpone elections on the seat. It urged the EC to use powers under Article 324 “for setting aside the order passed by the Returning Officer cancelling Nilesh Kumbhani’s nomination, directing restoration of his candidature from the Surat Lok Sabha Constituency; or in the alternative, (accepting) nomination of the backup candidate for the INC, Suresh Padsala”.

In all, 15 candidates had filed their nomination for the Surat seat. The papers of four were rejected earlier. After papers of the Congress candidate and the party’s substitute were also rejected, for “discrepancies in verification of signatures” of their proposers, at a special hearing held on Sunday at the Collector’s office, nine were left in the fray.

Barring the BJP’s Dalal, eight candidates then gave in writing to the election officer that they did not want to contest. Surat District Election Officer (DEO) and District Collector Saurabh Parghi subsequently declared Dalal the winner. Soon after, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil posted: “Surat has presented the first Lotus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

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