BJP bags first Lok Sabha seat in 2024 polls; Surat nominee declared elected

BJP won its first seat in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, as its candidate Mukesh Dalal was on Monday declared elected from Surat, after the nomination of Congress candidate was rejected and other candidates withdrew from the fray.
Gujarat BJP President C.R. Patil with party leader Mukesh Dalal after the latter was elected unopposed from Surat Lok Sabha seat, on Monday, April 22, 2024.
Gujarat BJP President C.R. Patil with party leader Mukesh Dalal after the latter was elected unopposed from Surat Lok Sabha seat, on Monday, April 22, 2024.
Nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected after a preliminary examination revealed inconsistencies in the signatures of proposers.

Surat | The BJP won its first seat in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, as its candidate Mukesh Dalal was on Monday declared elected from Surat, after the nomination of Congress candidate was rejected and other candidates withdrew from the fray.

Dalal won uncontested - the election was scheduled on May 7 - after the other candidates withdrew on Monday, the last day of withdrawal of papers. They included four Independents, three from smaller parties and Pyarelal Bharti of Bahujan Samaj Party.

On Sunday, the nomination of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected after a preliminary examination revealed inconsistencies in the signatures of proposers, an election official said.

The nomination form of Suresh Padsala, the Congress' "substitute" candidate from Surat, was also invalidated.

"I declare that Mukeshkumar Chandrakant Dalal, sponsored by the BJP, has been duly elected to fill the seat in the House from Surat parliamentary constituency," election officer Saurabh Pardhi told reporters, after handing over the certificate of election to Dalal.

"Surat has presented the first Lotus to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I congratulate our candidate for Surat Lok Sabha seat Mukesh Dalal for getting elected unopposed," state BJP president C R Paatil posted on X.

The Congress claimed the BJP was frightened by the anger of MSME owners and the business community and attempted "match-fixing" even in the Surat Lok Sabha seat which the ruling party has been winning since 1984.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that democracy is under threat.

"'Aap chronology samajhiye' (Understand the chronology): Surat District

Election Officer rejects the Congress' candidate for Surat Lok Sabha Nilesh Kumbhani's nomination for 'discrepancies in the verification of signatures of three proposers'. On similar grounds, officials reject the nomination of Suresh Padsala, the INC's substitute candidate from Surat. The Congress is left without a candidate," he said on X.

"All other candidates withdraw their nomination except the BJP's candidate, Mukesh Dalal. The BJP candidate declared 'elected unopposed' from Surat Lok Sabha seat on April 22, 2024, nearly two weeks before polling on May 7, 2024," Ramesh added.

"Our elections, our democracy, Babasaheb Ambedkar's Constitution -- all are under a generational threat. This is the most important election of our lifetime," Ramesh said.

A Congress candidate claimed that the BJP is trying to break the opposition using money acquired through corrupt means.

"People are watching this and they will give a befitting reply to the ruling party," said Congress candidate for Rajkot seat, Paresh Dhanani.

Paatil told reporters in Surat that going by the way people are extending their support to BJP, everyone is confident of achieving the target of 400 seats.

He said the BJP will win the remaining 25 seats in Gujarat, where voting will be held on May 7 in a single phase.

"Congress did a drama ahead of the election by claiming that the proposers of its candidate had been kidnapped. That allegation was refuted by their candidate himself. The party leaders then tried to put pressure on poll authorities and spread rumours. But, truth ultimately prevailed today,” Paatil said.

In the 2019 polls, BJP won all 26 constituencies in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

At least 35 candidates have won Lok Sabha polls unopposed since 1951

New Delhi | The BJP's Mukesh Dalal has become the first candidate in the last 12 years to have won a Lok Sabha election unopposed. He is also perhaps the first candidate from the BJP to have ever won a parliamentary poll unopposed.

His victory from the Surat parliamentary constituency comes close on the heels of 10 BJP candidates winning uncontested in the just-held assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dalal was on Monday elected unopposed from Surat Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat after all other nominees withdrew from the fray, a poll official said. The candidature of the Congress' Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected a day earlier after the district returning officer prima facie found discrepancies in the signature of the proposers.

This is the first victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the ongoing seven-phased Lok Sabha elections.

Before Dalal's unopposed entry to the 18th Lok Sabha, there have been at least 34 others who have won the parliamentary polls since 1951 without an electoral battle.

Samajwadi Party's Dimple Yadav had won the Kannauj Lok Sabha bypoll in 2012 unopposed. The seat was vacated by her husband Akhilesh Yadav after he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Amongst the other prominent leaders who have won parliamentary polls unopposed are Y B Chavan, Farooq Abdullah, Hare Krishna Mahtab, T T Krishnamachari, P M Syeed and S C Jamir.

Of the candidates who have entered the Lok Sabha without a contest, the maximum have been from the Congress. Sikkim and Srinagar constituencies have seen such unopposed elections twice.

While most candidates have won polls unopposed in general or regular elections, there have been at least nine, including Dimple Yadav, who have won bypolls uncontested.

A maximum of seven candidates won the general elections uncontested in 1957, followed by five each in 1951 and 1967 polls. While three candidates won uncontested in 1962 and two in 1977, one candidate each won the polls in a similar fashion in 1971, 1980 and 1989.

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