BJP’s Mukesh Dalal Wins Surat Lok Sabha Seat Unopposed, Here’s How

C R Paatil, the party's Gujarat unit chief, lauded Dalal's victory expressing that Surat has offered the first "Lotus" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Mukesh Dalal of the BJP won the Surat Lok Sabha seat unopposed on Monday after the nomination of Congress’ Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected due to alleged discrepancies in proposers’ signatures, as determined by the district returning officer. Dalal collected his winning certificate today.

C R Paatil, the party’s Gujarat unit chief, lauded Dalal’s victory, expressing that Surat has offered the first “Lotus” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Surat offered the first lotus to Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi!! Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Mukeshbhai Dalal, candidate for the Surat Lok Sabha seat, for being elected unopposed!!” Paatil wrote.

On the last day of nomination withdrawals, eight candidates, mostly Independents along with Pyarelal Bharti of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), withdrew from the race. Additionally, the nomination form of Suresh Padsala, Congress’ substitute candidate, was invalidated.

The Gujarat Congress chief, Shaktisinh Gohil, on Sunday accused the BJP of orchestrating the rejection of the nomination form of the party’s candidate from the Surat Lok Sabha constituency. Gohil alleged that the BJP is fearful of defeat in the elections and thus resorted to such tactics.

Describing the incident as an assault on democracy, Gohil stated, “The BJP is rattled as it has realized that the situation is not favorable for them this time (in elections). It hatched a conspiracy to get the forms of Congress candidates canceled by hook or by crook.”

The rejected nomination form belonged to Nilesh Kumbhani, the Congress candidate, and subsequently, the substitute candidate, Suresh Padsala, also faced a similar fate.

The Returning Officer, Sourabh Pardhi, cited alleged discrepancies in the signatures of the proposers as the reason for rejecting the forms. Gohil claimed that these signatures were verified and submitted in the presence of Kumbhani.

Furthermore, Gohil highlighted a discrepancy in the treatment of similar cases, stating, “The nomination form of Aam Aadmi Party candidate from the Surat-East assembly seat in the 2022 elections was not canceled even though two proposers had claimed that they had not signed his nomination form.”

Expressing discontent with the decision, Gohil announced plans to challenge it in court. “This is a murder of democracy. We will file a petition in the High Court against this order (of the Returning Officer) and also knock on the doors of the Supreme Court if needed,” he asserted.

Gohil criticized the Returning Officer for not employing forensic or handwriting experts to verify the signatures. He argued that the cancellation of the nomination form on this basis is unlawful.

The BJP’s election agent, Dinesh Jodhani, had raised objections to Kumbhani’s nomination forms, leading to a hearing where Kumbhani defended himself by asserting the authenticity of the signatures.

However, the Returning Officer ultimately upheld the rejection, citing the affidavits submitted by the proposers and the absence of their presence in the video footage.

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