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Surat Redux: Congress Too Had Unopposed Wins In 1951 Election

| Updated: May 8, 2024 14:56

The unopposed election of BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal from the Surat seat may be making headlines in the 2024 Lok Sabha election, yet this is not the first time that such a thing has happened.

In India’s maiden general election of 1951, when Gujarat was part of the Bombay State, Rupaji Bhavji Parmar of the Congress had clinched an uncontested win from the Panchmahals-cum-Baroda East seat, while Major General Himmatsinhji Jadeja had secured a similar victory for the Congress from the Halar seat in Saurashtra.

During the 1951 general election, the Bombay State had 37 Lok Sabha seats, including 14 from Gujarat, six from Saurashtra and two from Kutch. Among the 14 seats in Gujarat, single-seat constituencies encompassed Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana East, Mehsana West, Kheda North, Kheda South, Baroda West, and Panchmahal, Surat and Ahmedabad had two seats each. Interestingly, a total of 10 candidates were elected unopposed across the country.

In addition to the two Congress candidates from Bombay State, candidates from Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Mehbubnagar, Yadgir, Bilaspur, Shahdol Dheere, Muzaffarnagar, and Raigarh Phulba seats were also elected unopposed. Seven Congress candidates, two independent candidates, and one Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP) candidate were elected unopposed to the first Lok Sabha.

Maj Gen Himmatsinhji Jadeja was made India’s first deputy defence minister. He went on to become the first lieutenant governor of Himachal Pradesh. Apart from being an elected Parliamentarian, Himmatsinhji was a first-class cricketer. He was the cousin of Duleepsinhji and the nephew of Ranjitsinhji — both renowned figures in Test cricket.”

The recent uncontested win of BJP’s Mukesh Dalal arose from the rejection of Congress candidate Nilesh Kumbhani’s nomination form. Allegations of forged signatures led to the dismissal of Kumbhani’s candidacy, and similar charges led to the rejection of Congress’ substitute candidate Suresh Padsala’s nomination form, too.

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