Surat Congress Candidate's Nomination Cancelled Amidst Allegations Of Political Conspiracy

Surat Congress Candidate's Nomination Cancelled Amidst Allegations Of Political Conspiracy

The unfolding saga has left the Surat electorate stunned, with implications for the upcoming historic election

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 10:44 AM IST
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Surat: The Surat Lok Sabha constituency finds itself embroiled in controversy as the nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani stands cancelled. Senior Congress leaders in Surat have raised suspicions of a larger political conspiracy at play, alleging collusion between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and elements within their own ranks. The unfolding saga has left the Surat electorate stunned, with implications for the upcoming historic election.

Senior Congress figures in Surat have pointed accusatory fingers at a purported political conspiracy behind the abrupt cancellation of Nilesh Kumbhani's nomination for the Surat Lok Sabha seat. Aslam Cyclewala, a former Congress councilor, unequivocally laid blame on Kumbhani, stating, "Nilesh Kumbhani was given the party mandate... and he is solely responsible for whatever transpired in the last two days." Cyclewala's remarks came in the wake of the District Election Officer's decision to nullify Kumbhani's nomination, citing failure to produce his three proposers for signature verification.

How did it all start?

The saga began when Dinesh Jodhani, the election agent of the BJP candidate, raised concerns regarding the authenticity of signatures on Kumbhani's nomination forms. An ensuing investigation revealed allegations of signature forgery, with purported supporters of Kumbhani disowning the signatures attributed to them. Kumbhani countered these allegations by claiming that his supporters had been kidnapped, further muddying the waters of an already murky situation.

Speculation abounds regarding Kumbhani's alleged ties to former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Alpesh Kathiriya and Dharmik Malaviya, who resigned under suspicious circumstances last week. Both Kathiriya and Malaviya had contested the 2022 assembly elections alongside Kumbhani. It is believed that Kathiriya and Malaviya may have played their part in the entire episode.

Adding fuel to the fire, it has emerged that Kumbhani's proposers are close relatives, raising questions about his broader support within the party. Compounding the intrigue, all three proposers of Kumbhani have mysteriously disappeared since the controversy erupted. Affidavits received by the district election office attest to the alleged falsification of signatures on Kumbhani's nomination forms, further deepening the crisis surrounding his candidacy.

Anup Rajput, a Congress zonal spokesperson, has not minced words in implicating Hardik Patel and Arjun Modhwadia in the alleged plot to sabotage Kumbhani's candidacy. Rajput's accusations, coupled with claims of collusion between the BJP and electoral authorities, paint a picture of systemic interference in the electoral process.

In response to these allegations, Rajput asserted, "The entire conspiracy was hatched and cooked by the BJP beforehand." He further lamented the unprecedented nature of the situation, noting that the Surat Lok Sabha seat would be contested without a Congress candidate for the first time in history.

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