Editorial: Surat Steals The Show

Editorial: Surat Steals The Show

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 08:12 PM IST
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The East India Company reached Surat in 1608, ready to spread its tentacles across the land like an overenthusiastic octopus at a buffet. Little did anyone suspect that they'd hang around for a solid 200 years, like that one guest at a party who just won't leave. Fast forward to 1994, and Surat was making headlines for all the wrong reasons, proudly earning the title of the country's filthiest city. With waste clogging drainages and a rat population to rival the bandicoots shown in the Bollywood film Slumdog Millionaire, it was hailed as the perfect destination for anyone with wings. Yes, to fly away from. The humble ones took a train or a bus.

In a plot twist worthy of a Bollywood thriller, BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal swooped into the 18th Lok Sabha unopposed. Was he so beloved like the late Kushok Bakula Rinpoche that no one dared challenge him? Or, perhaps, it was the allure of his fashion statement: a humble cloth necklace adorned with the faces of Narendra Modi and the party symbol.

Enter the Congress, hopeful as ever, fielding Nilesh Kumbhani with all the confidence of a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Just to be safe, they threw in Suresh Padshala as a backup. But as fate would have it, every one of the eight candidates withdrew their nominations while those who signed for the Congress nominee refused to own up to their signatures. And so, in a twist as dramatic as Surat's infamous drain dramas, the Returning Officer declared Dalal the winner, unopposed and unchallenged. Was it a conspiracy? Dawn of dictatorship? Whatever it was, Surat once again left the nation scratching its head. Some call it democracy, others call it déjà vu. All we know is, Surat sure knows how to steal the show.

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