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Kumbhani not first, Congress’ Surat headache goes way back

Updated: Apr 25th, 2024

Congress in Surat

The invalidation of Congress’ Surat Lok Sabha candidate, Nilesh Kumbhani, led to eight more Surat candidates pulling out and BJP opening their account without breaking a sweat.

This, however, is not the first blunder for Congress on the Surat seat, as the GOP has made such a mistake twice in the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections in 2000 and 2015.

In the year 2000, forms for 23 Congress candidates were rejected altogether before the SMC elections.

Patidar agitation failure

Another such blunder was committed in 2015, during the peak of the Patidar reservation agitation in the state.

During the days when the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAS) openly opposed the BJP and supported the Congress, it became extremely difficult for the saffron party to run campaigns in Surat wards.

This resulted in the BJP being wiped out of the Patidar-dominated areas and the Congress winning a staggering 37 seats.

With this impact solidifying Congress’ hold, the GOP was also certain to win the Patidar-dominated wards: Ward-2, Amroli, and Kosad.

Karuna Bharat Rathod was the Congress’ candidate for this seat, reserved for the OBC (other backward classes), while the BJP fielded Urvashi Rami Mali for the SMC elections.

In an embarrassing turn of events, Congress failed to submit an OBC certificate for their candidate along with the nomination form. The BJP took a stern objection over this, and Rathod’s form was rejected. The BJP candidate was similarly declared the unopposed winner even before the polling took place.

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