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Nilesh Kumbhani pulls a Houdini, again

Updated: May 2nd, 2024

Nilesh Kumbhani

Congress leader and former Lok Sabha candidate for Surat, Nilesh Kumbhani has vanished again, after surfacing just long enough to announce that he would hold a press conference on the morning of May 2.

While he has cited ill health as the reason for this latest disappearance, rumours are rife that he is preparing to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Kumbhani, whose nomination was rejected over alleged discrepancies, first disappeared on Apr 26, after the BJP’s Mukesh Dalal was declared the winner for the Surat seat, unopposed, after other candidates withdrew. He went AWOL for two days, during which time the Congress suspended him for six years over allegations of anti-party activities, aka, colluding with the BJP. 

In the meantime, a video of him surfaced, in which he explained he was “forced to come back” due to the protests outside his house. He claimed that he had not been absconding, but had been in constant contact with the Movdi Mandal. “I talked with Babubhai Mangukiya and told my family that Congress is with us, and we need not fear,” he is heard saying in the video.

Given that public sentiment–especially within the Congress and AAP cadres–has been decidedly against Kumbhani, police personnel have been deployed outside Kumbhani’s residence in Surat’s Sarthana area to prevent untoward incidents. 

Kumbhani, who had not been seen since Apr 26, returned home, accompanied by a police protection team on the night of May 1, and announced that he would address the press on May 2. However, he was gone again by morning, having cancelled the press conference over “health concerns”.

(With inputs from IANS)

Also read:

Nilesh Kumbhani comes out of hibernation, blames Congress

Congress suspends Nilesh Kumbhani over suspected BJP connections

Surat Congress leader Nilesh Kumbhani ‘vanishes’ amid election controversy