Congress Candidate Nilesh Kumbhani’s Nomination Rejected in Surat Constituency Amid Signature Discrepancy Controversy

In a dramatic turn of events, the district returning officer rejected the nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani for the Surat Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat on Sunday. The decision came after prima facie discrepancies were detected in the signatures of the proposers on Kumbhani’s nomination form. Similarly, the nomination of Suresh Padsala, the substitute candidate nominated by the Congress, was also invalidated, effectively sidelining Gujarat’s principal opposition party from the electoral contest in the city.

Returning Officer Sourabh Pardhi, in his order, cited that the four nomination forms submitted by Kumbhani and Padsala were rejected after a preliminary examination revealed inconsistencies in the signatures of the proposers, casting doubt on their authenticity. The proposers’ affidavits corroborated the suspicion, as they denied having signed the forms in question.

The Congress party’s legal representative, Babu Mangukiya, confirmed the development and expressed disappointment over rejecting Kumbhani and Padsala’s nomination forms. Mangukiya further stated that the next course of action for the Congress party would involve approaching the High Court and Supreme Court to contest the decision.

The controversy surrounding the nomination forms surfaced when Dinesh Jodhani, the election agent of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Mukesh Dalal, raised objections to the forms on Saturday. Subsequently, the returning officer granted Kumbhani an opportunity to present his case on Sunday morning.

In response, Kumbhani asserted that the proposers had affixed their signatures in his presence and urged a certified expert to examine their handwriting thoroughly. He also emphasized the importance of cross-examining the proposers to ensure a fair and just resolution.

Following careful consideration of the evidence presented by both parties, the returning officer decided to reject the nomination forms, taking into account the affidavits of the proposers and the absence of their signatures in the video footage reviewed at the request of Kumbhani’s legal counsel.

Meanwhile, the BJP has fielded Mukesh Dalal as its candidate for the Surat Lok Sabha constituency. Dalal, a seasoned politician with extensive experience in municipal governance, is poised to contest the elections under the BJP banner.

In a related development, the nominations of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for the Bhavnagar Lok Sabha seat, Umesh Makwana, and Congress candidate for the Amreli Lok Sabha seat, Jenny Thummar, were accepted by the respective returning officers after a thorough examination of their nomination forms. The BJP had raised objections to the forms of these candidates, alleging discrepancies in the details provided in their affidavits.

Notably, the Congress and AAP have formed an alliance to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat, with the Congress fielding candidates in 24 out of the 26 constituencies, while AAP is contesting from Bhavnagar and Bharuch.

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