AHMEDABAD: Two Congress candidates in Surat today put the party in a fix by filing their nominations for the same seat for the Gujarat Assembly polls.
On the last day of filing nominations for the first phase of polls, to be held on December 9, Congress nominee for the Kamrej seat of Surat, Ashok Jirawala, along with another party leader Nilesh Kumbhani filed their nominations for the same seat by showing mandates issued to them by the party, said officials.
According to party leaders, change of candidate for the Kamrej seat has led to this situation, as Kumbhani was declared as the party's candidate first and then the decision was reversed within 24 hours.
Officials said they have accepted the candidatures of both Jirawala and Kumbhani as the two were in possession of mandates issued by the party.
"Since both Jirawala and Kumbhani were having valid mandates issued to them by the Congress, we have accepted their candidatures. Since only one candidate from a party can contest, one of them will be eliminated. That decision will be taken tomorrow during screening," said Returning Officer for Kamrej, K G Vaghela.
Kumbhani's name was there when the party had issued its first list of candidates on Sunday. However, Kumbhani was replaced by Jirawala late last night.
However, party leaders claimed that Kumbhani collected his mandate before his name was changed yesterday.
"As soon as his name appeared in the list, Kumbhani collected his mandate yesterday morning. Then, the party replaced him with Jirawala and gave him mandate today. Thus, both of them were in possession of mandates," said Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
In a similar incident, two Congress leaders filed their nominations for Rajkot-Rural(SC) seat yesterday without any valid mandate.
Though the Congress has chosen Vashram Sagathia for the seat and declared his name in the list issued on Sunday, another local leader from Rajkot, Suresh Bathwar, filed his nomination yesterday for the same seat without showing a mandate.
In a haste, Sagathia too filed his nomination yesterday.
However, he too did not have the official mandate at that time.
"Since he was the official candidate, the returning officer told him to submit the mandate by this afternoon.
Thus, after filing his papers, he rushed to Ahmedabad and collected his mandate. He submitted it to the RO today," said a Congress leader.
The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.