CHENNAI: The State Election Commission and the Tamil Nadu BJP chief were locked in a war of words on Sunday over the alleged kidnap of the party’s civic poll candidate. After the SEC made enquiries and found that the kidnap didn’t happen, it appealed to political parties to enquire into the veracity of such information before submitting a petition to the poll panel or talking to the media.
In a statement, the poll panel said TN BJP unit president Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan met the State election commissioner on Saturday and submitted a petition, alleging kidnap of her party’s Villupuram district panchayat candidate. In her presence, the Villupuram Collector was contacted and an enquiry conducted with the district superintendent of police and electoral officer. The poll panel also ordered the collector to submit a detailed report.
The report submitted by the Collector and SP to the State Election Commission said that one Kumar of BJP had lodged a complaint at Melmalaiyanur police station, alleging that the party’s local panchayat candidate for Ward 4 Prabakaran was missing. However, the family members had not filed any such complaint. “On learning about the complaint, the ‘missing’ candidate Prabakaran appeared before the police and stated that he was at his house. He also denied that he was kidnapped,” the statement quoted the report as saying.
Pointing to the collector’s report that claims about the candidate’s kidnap by the State BJP chief and a media report were false, the poll panel said political parties must check the veracity of such information before submitting a petition and act responsibly.
Stating that swift action was taken on all complaints, the poll panel said that false information created hurdles in the effective functioning of the commission.
Rebutting the criticism, the BJP chief said she submitted the petition to the SEC, after district president Kumar lodged a ‘man missing’ complaint with the police and informed the party headquarters. “When we conducted an enquiry in the district, we received information that some persons prevented had Prabakaran from filing his nomination papers and took him to Tiruvannamalai for two days and brought him back. We also have information that they secured his signature on a blank paper and that he has also been threatened,” she said.
Stating that it was on the basis of her party functionary’s police complaint that a petition was submitted to the SEC, the BJP chief said the SEC advice to political parties was condemnable.