CHENNAI: In what looks like an edge-of-your-seat action thriller, the RK Nagar Assembly constituency is witnessing dramatic turns and twists in the run-up to the by-election scheduled for December 21. Thursday’s quota of spicy developments added to the tempo of the proceedings.
Actor Vishal, who had knocked at the doors of the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer, pleading for reversal of rejection of his nomination, lost his battle in the evening while J Deepa, niece of the late Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, complained to CEO Rajesh Lakhoni that her original nomination had been replaced by bogus papers.
For TTV Dhinakaran, rebel AIADMK leader, it was a day of disappointment. The Hat symbol he had sought was allocated to one Ramesh of Namadhu Kongu Munnetra Kazhagam, a registered political party. He could not get Cricket Bat and Whistle either, which he had also sought. Instead, he was allocated the Pressure Cooker symbol for this by-election. Unfazed by this, Dhinakaran said he got the symbol only to increase the blood pressure of the ‘betrayers.’
In all, after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations was over at 3 pm on Thursday, 14 candidates withdrew their nominations, leaving 59 in fray. Of them, 46 are independents and 13 are from political parties.
Around noon, Vishal said through media that he had come to know that the EC had directed him to produce the two proposers — Sumathy and Deepan — before the RO and put forth his case since the RO is a quasi-judicial officer. Later, he said he could not trace the two proposers and said he was worried about their safety. After some time, he again met the RO and represented his case.
However, after meeting the RO, Vishal told mediapersons, “The RO now says that my supporters and I had threatened him and hence he had accepted my nomination at that time. In fact, we made a fervent plea to the RO and did not threaten him. I will bring it to the notice of the Election Commission again.”
After Vishal met the RO, the officer issued another order about his ‘re-enquiry’ into the issue. “Both Sumathy and Deepan, who had said that they did not sign as proposers for the nomination of Vishal, appeared before me today and reiterated their earlier stand. After re-enquiry in an independent manner, I conclude that the candidature of Vishal has not been proposed by 10 candidates. Hence, based on merits, the representation of Vishal cannot be considered favourably,” the RO said in his order.
Meanwhile, the process of symbol allocation was going on at the RO’s office. The counsels for Dhinakaran protested the allocation of the Two Leaves symbol to E Madhusudhanan, saying that only the general secretary could sign the Form B. However, the RO set aside the opposition and allocated the Two Leaves to Madhusudhanan. Dhinakaran could not get either the Hat symbol or the Cricket Bat or Whistle as he had sought. Instead, he got Pressure Cooker.
In yet another development, Deepa petitioned Rajesh Lakhoni, alleging that her original nomination papers were replaced by bogus ones and that there was foul play in rejecting her nomination. “If there are so many malpractices and political influence, why conduct the elections? I have received a threat from a senior AIADMK minister and even got acid attack threats,” Deepa told mediapersons.