Thu, 17 Nov 2022 11:49 AM IST
The Aam Aadmi Party, which has been trying to make inroads into Gujarat, faced a setback in Surat (East) on Wednesday after its candidate Kanchan Jariwala withdrew his nomination. While AAP accused BJP of kidnapping its nominee and forcing him to withdraw his candidature, Jariwala issued a video statement taking responsibility of his actions.
With Jariwala's withdrawal, AAP has lost the opportunity to contest on the seat as the application of its standby candidate Salim Multani will also not be accepted. According to rules, the candidature of the second nominee is considered in case the first is rejected. However, it is not accepted in case of withdrawal. Multani will now contest as an Independent, The Indian Express quoted a legal advisor of AAP.
Angered AAP leader and Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, accompanied by his supporters, also protested outside the Election Commission office in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Significance Of Surat (East) Seat For AAP
Surat (East) was among some of the urban seats targeted by AAP. It was one of the seats where AAP had managed to register its presence and replace Congress as the principal opposition party in the 2021 municipal elections. With 28.58 per cent votes and 27 seats, while AAP may not have scored big against BJP's 93 seats, but it reduced Congress to zero.
Current Contest In Surat (East)
However, in these state assembly elections, the tables have turned and Congress' chances have improved. The grand old party has fielded a Muslim candidate Aslam Cyclewala, who has now appealed to AAP leaders to support him.
The Surat (East) constituency comprises of 2.12 lakh population, of which 92,000 are Muslims. The other dominant communities are those of Ranas and Khatris. While Surat (East) has elected a Rana candidate since 2007, this year 15 of 17 nominees are Muslims.
BJP has fielded Arvindbhai Rana, who had also won the seat in 2017. However, it might face competition from Congress, which stands to benefit from possible polarised votes.
The Gujarat Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will take place on December 8.
The last dates of withdrawal of nominations are November 17 and 21 for the first and second phases respective