Congress' Surat candidate goes missing after BJP's unopposed win in constituency

Nilesh Kumbhani
Nilesh Kumbhani. Photo: X/@NileshKumbhan10

Surat: Congress claimed on Tuesday that Nilesh Kumbhani, its candidate from the Surat Lok Sabha seat whose nomination was rejected over `discrepancies', has gone incommunicado amid rumours that he would be joining the ruling BJP soon.

Local Congress workers, led by the city unit's working president, Dinesh Savalia, staged a protest outside Kumbhani's locked house in the Puna Gam area, calling him a traitor and accusing him of giving a walkover to the BJP. The BJP's Mukesh Dalal was on Monday declared elected unopposed from Surat after all other candidates, including that of the BSP, withdrew their nominations.

"Kumbhani was in contact with me till the afternoon of April 21. After that, he went incommunicado as he switched off his phone. When our leaders went to his house today, they found that he had locked it and gone to some undisclosed location with his entire family. He did not even face the media after his nomination was rejected," said Congress leader Aslam Cyclewala.

"This proves he was part of the plan to invalidate his own nomination (to help BJP). He would have spoken to the media, had he been a victim. Instead, he fled from the collector's office on Sunday from the backside. After that, he has not been in touch with any Congress leader. There are strong rumours that he will join the BJP very soon,"
Cyclewala added. Kumbhani had served as a Congress corporator in the Surat Municipal Corporation. He unsuccessfully fought the 2022 assembly polls as the party's candidate from the Kamrej seat in Surat.

On Sunday, his nomination form was rejected after his three proposers submitted affidavits to the district returning officer claiming that the signatures on the form were not theirs.

The nomination form of Suresh Padsala, the Congress' substitute candidate, was also invalidated on the same ground. In his order, returning officer Sourabh Pardhi said the forms of Kumbhani and Padsala were rejected after it was found, prima facie, that the signatures of the proposers were not genuine.

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