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Congress’ Setback in Surat: Second Candidate Defects, Joins BJP Before Vote

The Congress party today lost its second Lok Sabha candidate within days, just before voting in the seat. Akshay Bam, the Congress candidate in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, dropped out of the race and joined the BJP today.

The shocker emerged in a post by senior Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who flaunted the candidate in a photo taken in a car.

“Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Indore Akshay Kanti Bam is welcome in the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party national president JP Nadda, Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and state president VD Sharma,” Mr Vijayvargiya said in the post.

Today was the last day of nominations for Indore, which votes in the fourth phase of elections on May 13.

“Three candidates, including Congress’ Bam, withdrew their nominations today as per the due procedure. The process has also been videographed,” District Collector Ashish Singh told reporters.

Akshay Bam visited the district collector’s office to retract his candidacy, with BJP MLA Ramesh Mendola by his side.

Congress had pitted poll debutant Mr Bam, 45, against the incumbent BJP MP Shankar Lalwani in Indore, which has the largest electorate in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress chose him at a time a string of party workers, including three former MLAs, have switched to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh.

The opposition party lost a candidate in Gujarat’s Surat last week following a series of dramatic events that included the disqualification of the Congress nominee and the withdrawal of eight candidates – including the BSP pick and independents – one after the other. On April 22, the BJP’s Mukesh Dalal was declared unopposed winner for the Surat Lok Sabha constituency.

As the Congress suffered its second setback, the party’s local leaders in Indore expressed their disappointment and questioned the leadership’s decision to choose Mr Bam as candidate.

“I had warned about Akshay Bam to our party leaders. I had warned that he would withdraw his nomination. It pains us that party workers like us have been serving the Congress for years yet the ticket was given to people like him,” said local Congress leader Devendra Singh Yadav to NDTV.

During the scrutiny of nominations, the BJP’s legal cell had raised an objection on Mr Bam’s nomination form for not mentioning the addition of section 307 of IPC or an attempt to murder case in a 17-year-old land dispute. Poll officials had overruled the objection and accepted his nomination as the charge was added on the day he filed the nomination.

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(Source: NDTV)

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