12 May 2024

Gujarat Lok Sabha Election-2024: Missing Surat Candidate Nilesh Kumbhani Resurfaces After 20 Days, What Did He Say?

Gujarat Lok Sabha Election-2024: Nilesh Kumbhani, suspended Surat Congress candidate, emerged after a 20-day absence and claimed that the grand old party had betrayed him back in 2017. His nomination form rejection resulted in the BJP winning the Surat Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat uncontested.

'Congress had first betrayed me'

Nilesh Kumbhani said he remained silent out of respect for the state party president Shaktisinh Gohil and the party's Rajkot Lok Sabha candidate Paresh Dhanani. He said he had been accused of betrayal by Congress leaders but maintained that the Congress had first betrayed him during the 2017 assembly elections when his ticket for the Kamrej Assembly seat in Surat was abruptly canceled. Kumbhani emphasized that the initial mistake was made by the Congress, not by him.

'5 self-proclaimed leaders in Surat neither work nor permit others to work'

"I did not intend to take this step, but my supporters, office staff, and workers were disheartened due to the control of five self-proclaimed leaders in Surat who neither work nor permit others to work within the party. AAP and Congress are part of the INDIA alliance, but these leaders objected when I campaigned alongside AAP leaders in this region," he stated.

When questioned whether his actions during the current Lok Sabha elections were a form of retaliation against the Congress, Nilesh Kumbhani declined to provide a direct response and instead reiterated his grievance regarding the cancellation of his ticket during the 2017 state polls.

Nilesh Kumbhani, a former Congress corporator in the Surat Municipal Corporation, contested the 2022 assembly elections from Kamrej but was defeated by the BJP candidate.

Kumbhani's nomination form was rejected on April 21

On April 21, Nilesh Kumbhani's nomination form was rejected when his three proposers affirmed to the district returning officer that they had not signed the document.

Coincidentally, the nomination form of the Congress' replacement candidate, Suresh Padsala, was also rejected, leading to the party's withdrawal from the competition.

The following day, BJP's Mukesh Dalal was declared the winner without opposition from Surat, as all other contenders, including one from the BSP, withdrew their nominations.

As part of a pre-poll agreement with Congress, the AAP did not field a candidate from Surat.

Nilesh Kumbhani had been out of contact since April 22. Subsequently, the Congress suspended him, alleging his involvement in the rejection of the nomination form and accusing him of collusion with the BJP.

The Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat took place in a single phase on May 7. The results for 25 out of the state's 26 seats are scheduled to be announced on June 4.

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