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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Congress candidate’s exit from Indore race shouldn't have happened: Sumitra Mahajan

In a major setback to the Congress in Indore, its candidate Akshay Kanti Bam pulled back from the contest on April 29, the last date for withdrawal of nominations, and joined the BJP.
Last Updated : 04 May 2024, 12:20 IST
Last Updated : 04 May 2024, 12:20 IST

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Indore: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has expressed surprise over the last-minute exit of the Congress’ Indore Lok Sabha candidate, calling it unfair and stressing that voters have the right to decide in a democratic set-up.

In a major setback to the Congress in Indore, its candidate Akshay Kanti Bam pulled back from the contest on April 29, the last date for withdrawal of nominations, and joined the BJP.

In an interview with PTI, Mahajan said, “I was surprised to know about the withdrawal of the nomination of the main opposition party (Congress) candidate in Indore... This should not have happened. There was no need for this development as it was written on the wall that nobody can defeat the BJP in Indore.”

The commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh has been a stronghold of the BJP. Mahajan had represented the constituency eight consecutive times since 1989.

She said, “The Congress candidate (Bam) should not have done this in the elections. In a way, he also betrayed his party (Congress). But why should I use such words?"

Mahajan claimed she was unaware of the circumstances that led to such a situation.

The 81-year-old BJP leader, popular as ‘Tai’, said, “I don't know what actually happened. If all this has been done by our people, then it is wrong. There was no need to do it. If the Congress candidate has done it on his own, I will also tell him that he should not have done it.” She said candidates should contest polls if they have filed nominations.

“Democracy is all about going to the people and obtaining their decision about what they want. That's why elections are held,” she said.

Mahajan said that after the first electoral change of its kind in the history of Indore Lok Sabha seat, some educated people from the city called her up to say that they would press NOTA (none of the above) option as “they did not like what BJP did”.

“I explained to them that BJP has done nothing in this regard and that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party is sticking to its core ideology and our candidate (Shankar Lalwani) is in the fray, so they should vote for BJP instead of NOTA,' Mahajan said.

In 2019, BJP’s Shankar Lalwani defeated his nearest rival of Congress, Pankaj Sanghvi, by 5.48 lakh votes.

BJP has renominated Lalwani from Indore, which has the most number of eligible voters in the state at 25.13 lakh. The BJP has given a slogan of victory by a margin of 8 lakh votes here.

Just a week before the Indore development, the BJP candidate in Gujarat’s Surat, Mukesh Dalal, was declared the winner after Congress nominee Nilesh Kumbhani's nomination was rejected and other candidates dropped out of the contest.

Mahajan said she was not aware of what had happened in Surat as she was not present in the Gujarat city at that time.

On Congerss Rahul Gandhi contesting from Rae Bareli instead of Amethi, Mahajan said, “Is it not worth that Gandhi is working hard by touring the whole country? If he is changing his Lok Sabha seat, then let him change. That’s good.”

Mahajan said Gandhi should look at the entire nation from the right perspective so that when he sits in the opposition, he has a good knowledge of the basic issues and he can speak for the country.

On the questions raised by the opposition over her party's election slogan of ‘Abki Baar, 400 Paar’, Mahajan said, “When a student studies diligently throughout the year and believes that he has to pass in the first division, then why should we find his statement strange. Aiming less is a crime.” Mahajan claimed that based on the country’s development, the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the BJP will adopt the slogan of winning over 400 Lok Sabha seats this time.

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Published 04 May 2024, 12:20 IST

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