Surat LS Victory: BJP Triumphs as Congress Candidates Disqualified by EC

While in most constituencies of Gujarat the fight is mainly between two parties, the Congress and the BJP, in Surat the BJP has a clear path.

Surat: Even as campaigning for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 26 gains momentum, the BJP on Monday opened its account with Mukesh Dalal being declared winner from the Surat parliamentary constituency after several withdrawals and disqualifications of opposition candidates.

In an interesting turn of events, the nomination papers of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani and his substitute were rejected by the Returning Officer (RO), Surat Collector Sourabh Pardhi, due to alleged discrepancies in the signatures of their proposers.

The situation escalated when eight other candidates, including Pyarelal Bharati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), withdrew their nominations under unclear circumstances, effectively leaving Dalal as the lone contender.

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While in most constituencies of Gujarat, the fight is mainly between two parties, the Congress and the BJP, in Surat the BJP has a clear path.

The decision was announced by the district Returning Officer, Sourabh Pardhi, who noted that the signatures on the nomination forms needed to be more genuine.

The proposers denied having signed the forms themselves.

The controversy arose just after Dinesh Jodhani, the election agent for the BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal, raised objections.

In response, Kumbhani defended the authenticity of the signatures, suggesting that a handwriting expert and the signatories verify them.

Despite these efforts, the Returning Officer confirmed the rejections based on the affidavits and additional evidence presented during the scrutiny.

The Congress party, represented by its lawyer Babu Mangukiya, plans to challenge the decision in the higher courts.

Mukesh Dalal, the BJP candidate, remains a contender in Surat.

A veteran in local politics, Dalal has held significant positions, including Chairman of the Surat Municipal Corporation’s Standing Committee and current General Secretary of the BJP’s city unit.

His extensive experience and deep roots in the community make him a strong candidate for the seat.

Surat is responsible for three-quarters of the world’s diamond cutting and polishing trade.

The Congress party, led by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, reclaimed the Surat seat in 1980 and maintained its hold in the 1984 elections.

However, the tide turned in 1989 when the BJP made its mark with Kashiram Rana securing the seat, initiating a series of victories in 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2004.

In a notable 2009 election, BJP’s Darshana Jardosh became the first female MP from Surat.

This constituency, which comprises Assembly seats in Olpad, Varachha Road, Surat West, Surat East, Karanj, Surat North, and Katargam, continued to favour the BJP.

In 2019, Darshana Vikram Jardosh secured a decisive win with 795,651 votes, significantly ahead of the Congress’ Ashok Patel, who garnered 247,421 votes.

Similarly, in the 2014 elections, Jardosh won with 718,412 votes, while the Congress’ Bhupat Bhai Desai trailed with 185,222 votes.

Surat Lok Sabha constituency has a notable political heritage, having been represented by some prominent figures.

Veteran BJP leader Kashiram Rana notably served as the MP from Surat for six terms, demonstrating the party’s strong influence in the region.

Additionally, the constituency boasts a distinguished history with Morarji Desai, the 7th Prime Minister of India, who served as its MP for five terms.

Since 1989, the constituency has consistently elected BJP leaders with substantial margins.

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