What Happened in Surat?
April 23, 2024

Why in News? As the BJP won its first seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections unopposed, the rejection of the nomination papers of Congress candidates due to discrepancies in the proposers' signature verification has been met with protests.

Who is a Proposer? A candidate in the election race must have a proposer. According to EC rules, a proposer must be a registered elector of the Assembly or parliamentary constituency for which s/he endorses a candidate’s nomination. The nomination papers of the candidate must be signed by the proposer as well as the candidate for them to be deemed valid.

How Many Proposer/s is/are Needed by a Candidate? As per the Representation of the People Act 1951, a candidate of a recognised state or national party needs one proposer, while an Independent or the candidate of an unrecognised party needs 10. The EC allows a candidate to file up to four nominations for the same constituency, to be safe in case errors are spotted in any.

What is the Role of the Proposer? S/he can sign more than one nomination form for the same candidate as well as for different candidates. The candidate and the proposer are mandated to be physically present while nomination papers are submitted to the Returning Officer (RO).

What are the Grounds on which Nomination Papers can be Rejected? The RO can reject a nomination form if the papers are not submitted on time or are submitted by anyone other than the candidate or the proposer. A nomination can also be rejected if the RO deems the signatures on the papers are not genuine or if the affidavit is incomplete.

What Happened in Surat? The poll officers found discrepancies in the signatures of all four of the proposers (3 different proposers for 3 nomination forms and a proposer of the substitute candidate).