Elections

Congress’ Surat LS Candidate Kumbhani's Nomination Rejected Over Proposers' Sign Discrepancies

Confirming the development, the Congress party's lawyer Babu Mangukiya said, "Nomination forms of Dinesh Kumbhani and Suresh Padsala have been rejected after the four proposers said signatures on the forms were not theirs."

Congress’ Surat LS Candidate Kumbhani's Nomination Rejected Over Proposers' Sign Discrepancies
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The candidature of Congress' Nilesh Kumbhani from Surat Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat was rejected on Sunday after the district returning officer prima facie found discrepancies in the signature of the proposers.

The nomination form of Suresh Padsala, the Congress' substitute candidate from Surat, was also invalidated, pushing Gujarat's principal opposition party out of the poll fray in the city.

In his order, Returning Officer Sourabh Pardhi said the four nomination forms submitted by Kumbhani and Padsala were rejected after prima facie, discrepancies were found in the signatures of the proposers, and they did not appear genuine.

The proposers, in their affidavits, stated that they had not signed the forms themselves, Pardhi's order informed.

Confirming the development, the Congress party's lawyer Babu Mangukiya said, "Nomination forms of Dinesh Kumbhani and Suresh Padsala have been rejected after the four proposers said signatures on the forms were not theirs."

Mangukiya said the next course of action will be to approach the High Court and Supreme Court.

Dinesh Jodhani, the election agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Mukesh Dalal, had objected to the nomination forms on Saturday, after which the returning officer granted time to the Congress candidate to appear before it on Sunday morning to present his case. 

In his reply, Kumbhani submitted that the proposers had put their signatures in his presence, and their signatures should be examined by a handwriting expert.

They also should be cross-examined for the benefit of justice, he said. 

The returning officer ordered the rejection of the nomination forms after considering the affidavits submitted by the proposers and related evidence and after ascertaining the identity of the proposers and ensuring they were not threatened or were under pressure. 

Even the presence of the signatories was not found in the video footage examined at the request of the Congress candidate's lawyer, the order stated. 

The BJP has fielded Mukesh Dalal from the Surat Lok Sabha constituency. 

Dalal (63) is a former standing committee chairman of the BJP-ruled Surat Municipal Corporation and currently serves as the general secretary of the party's Surat city unit. 

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 hearing both sides. 

The BJP had raised objections to the forms of the two candidates, claiming that they had hidden some details in their affidavit submitted along with their forms. 

The Congress and AAP are in alliance to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat. The Congress has fielded candidates on 24 of 26 seats, while AAP is contesting from Bhavnagar and Bharuch.

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