"Congress Betrayed Me": 'Missing' Surat Candidate Reappears After 20 Days

Suspended Congress leader Nilesh Kumbhani, whose nomination form was rejected over discrepancies leading to BJP winning the Surat Lok Sabha seat, resurfaced on Saturday after 20 days and alleged it was Congress that had betrayed him first in 2017.

May 12, 2024 - 02:45
"Congress Betrayed Me": 'Missing' Surat Candidate Reappears After 20 Days

Suspended Congress leader Nilesh Kumbhani, whose nomination form was rejected over discrepancies leading to BJP winning the Surat Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat unopposed, resurfaced on Saturday after 20 days and alleged it was the grand old party that had betrayed him first in 2017.

Nilesh Kumbhani said he was silent all these days because of his respect for state party president Shaktisinh Gohil and the party's Rajkot Lok Sabha candidate Paresh Dhanani.

"Congress leaders are accusing me of betrayal. However, it was the Congress which betrayed me first in the 2017 assembly elections when my ticket for Kamrej Assembly seat in Surat was cancelled at the last moment. It was the Congress which made the first mistake, not me," Nilesh Kumbhani told reporters here.

"I did not want to do this but my supporters, office staff and workers were upset because the party is being run by five self-proclaimed leaders in Surat and they neither work nor allow others to work. Though AAP and Congress are part of INDIA alliance, these leaders raised objections when I used to campaign with AAP leaders here," he claimed.

Asked if the turn of events in the ongoing Lok Sabha poll was his revenge on the Congress, Nilesh Kumbhani refused to give a direct reply and reiterated his charge about cancellation of ticket in the 2017 state polls.

Nilesh Kumbhani, who had earlier served as a Congress corporator in the Surat Municipal Corporation, fought the 2022 assembly polls from Kamrej but lost to the BJP.

On April 21, Nilesh Kumbhani's nomination form was rejected after his three proposers submitted affidavits to the district returning officer claiming they had not signed on the document.

Incidentally, the nomination form of the Congress' substitute candidate Suresh Padsala was also rejected, ending the party's presence in the fray.

On April 22, BJP's Mukesh Dalal was declared elected unopposed from Surat after all other candidates, including one from the BSP, withdrew their nominations.

Due to a pre-poll alliance with Congress, the AAP had not fielded its candidate from Surat.

Nilesh Kumbhani had gone incommunicado since April 22. He was later suspended by the Congress, which blamed him for the rejection of the nomination form and also accused him of "connivance with the BJP".

Lok Sabha polls were held in a single phase in Gujarat on May 7. Results for 25 out of the state's 26 seats will be declared on June 4. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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