Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cong alleges ‘attempted match-fixing’ as BJP wins poll walkover in Surat


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New Delhi, April 22: The Congress on Monday complained to the poll panel against the election of the BJP candidate in Surat unopposed, alleging it was done by exerting “wrong and undue influence” and demanded the poll process in the seat be restarted.
It claimed the BJP was frightened by the anger of MSME owners and the business community and attempted “match-fixing” even in the Surat Lok Sabha seat which the ruling party has been winning since 1984.
The Congress’ retort came after the BJP’s Mukesh Dalal was on Monday elected unopposed from Surat as all other candidates withdrew from the fray. The candidature of the Congress’ Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected a day earlier after the district returning officer prima facie found discrepancies in the signature of the proposers.
Voting for all 26 constituencies in Gujarat is scheduled for May 7, but with the result of Surat seat already out, polling will be held on 25 seats.
A delegation of Congress leaders met the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners and demanded that the election process in Surat be restarted as “wrong and undue influence” was being exerted.
“We have therefore requested the Election Commission to postpone the election in Surat and redo the election shorty to send a clear message that you cannot take advantage of this kind of wrong undue influence,” Congres spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters after meeting the ECs.
“This is not a case where an election petition will decide the matter later on. This is the case of no election by complete subordination of the democratic will of several contestants and several proposals. It is a case of patent bad faith and undue pressure,” he alleged.
Singhvi also claimed that in Surat, the Congress candidate was nominated by four proposals, “but, suddenly all four stood up and denied their signatures”. “All four together. This is no coincidence. The candidate is missing for many hours and by the time he resurfaces we find that every other candidate has withdrawn his candidature, every one of them. His candidature is rejected by the returning officer.” “If you don’t want to have an election in this country and you want to hand over Surat on a platter then why go through the process of elections? Why notify the elections?” he asked. Taking a swipe at the BJP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “The dictator’s ‘asli surat’ (true face) is once again bared in front of the country.”
“Taking away the people’s right to elect their leader is another step towards destroying the Constitution of Babasaheb Ambedkar. I am once again saying – this is not just an election to form a government, this is an election to save the country, this is an election to protect the Constitution,” he said in Hindi in a post on X.
Reacting to the development in Surat, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that democracy is under threat. “’Aap chronology samajhiye’ (Understand the chronology): Surat District Election Officer rejects the Congress’ candidate for Surat Lok Sabha Nilesh Kumbhani’s nomination for ‘discrepancies in the verification of signatures of three proposers’. On similar grounds, officials reject the nomination of Suresh Padsala, the INC’s substitute candidate from Surat. The Congress is left without a candidate,” he said on ‘X’.
“All other candidates withdraw their nomination except the BJP’s candidate, Mukesh Dalal. The BJP candidate declared ‘elected unopposed’ from Surat Lok Sabha seat on April 22, 2024, nearly two weeks before polling on May 7, 2024,” Ramesh added. (PTI)


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