Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BJP registers first victory as Surat candidate Mukesh Dalal wins unopposed

According to the Election Commission's website, a total of 24 candidates had filed nominations out of which four had been accepted, 12 were rejected and eight were withdrawn.
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 09:47 IST
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 09:47 IST

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Ahmedabad: A day after Congress candidate and his substitute's nominations were canceled over discrepancies in the signatures of their proposers, eight other candidates including one from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) withdrew their nominations, paving the way for the BJP candidate to be elected unopposed.

Since Monday morning, seven candidates including Soheil Shekh from Log Party, Jayesh Mevada, Global Republican Party, Abdul Hamid Khan from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Party, and independent candidates Bharat Prajapati, Ajitsinh Umat, Kishor Dayani and Ramesh P Baraiya withdrew their nominations.

The last candidate to pull out of the contest was Pyarelal Bharati from BSP, leaving BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal, the lone candidate.

A total of 24 candidates had filed nominations out of which four had been accepted, 12 were rejected and eight were withdrawn, the Election Commission's website said.

Surat, with over 17.67 lakh voters, has been a BJP bastion. The last time the Congress had won the seat was in 1984.

Surat Collector and Returning Officer (RO) Sourabh Pardhi issued the "certificate of election" to Dalal, which read, "...to have duly elected by the said constituency in the General Election to be a member of the House of People and that in token thereof I have granted to him this certificate of election."

BJP's Gujarat President C R Paatil posted on X, "Surat offered first lotus to Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi!! Congratulations and best wishes to Mukeshbhai Dalal, Surat Lok Sabha candidate for being elected unopposed."

Responding to Congress' claim that the whole episode was a "murder of democracy", Paatil said in a media briefing, "They have been murdering democracy till now...they can't contest a fair election. Congress is alleging pressure on administration and that BJP was involved in kidnapping (of proposers) but they have filed affidavit saying they didn't sign the nomination papers."

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also took to X to congratulate Dalal. Patel wrote, "This is the beginning of the historic victory of the BJP in the whole of India, including Gujarat in the Lok Sabha polls. This is a clear indication of lotus blossoming with BJP's resounding victory in all 26 seats in Gujarat..."

Earlier on Sunday, RO Pardhi had rejected the nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani as well as his substitute on the ground of "discrepancies in the signature of proposers".

The candidatures were rejected under Section 36 (2) of Representation of the People Act, 1951 which gives the right to RO to examine the papers and objections raised against the nominations.

Earlier, the BJP had objected to nomination forms of Kumbhani following which the RO asked the Congress candidates to present their case on Sunday in a special hearing.

Kumbhani submitted that his proposers had signed the papers in his presence and the authenticity of them should be checked by handwriting experts.

Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil in a press conference alleged that "nomination was rejected at the behest of BJP."

Claiming the shocker as a "murder of democracy", Gohil said that the party is challenging the decision in High Court. He also alleged that it was part of a "conspiracy" to get Congress candidates cancelled by hook or by crook.

Published 22 April 2024, 09:47 IST

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