Having used the 2G scam to highlight corruption under UPA, the BJP has suddenly found itself without a candidate against the prime accused. In Nilgiris, where the DMK’s A Raja is contesting, the returning officer rejected the nominations of both the main and substitute BJP candidates after scrutiny Monday.
Nilgiris in western Tamil Nadu was one of the seats where the BJP had fielded a candidate. It had won the seat in 1998 and 1999 when it contested as part of an AIADMK-DMK coalition.
According to district collector and returning officer, P Sankar, the nominations of the BJP’s primary candidate S Gurumurthy and substitute D Anbarasan had not been accompanied by forms A and B, the mandatory supporting documents that formally state a candidate has been fielded by a party under its symbol. The candidates failed to submit the documents even after obtaining an extension, he said.
BJP leaders claimed the candidate’s car met with an accident while rushing to meet the returning officer, which caused the delay. “It is a most unfortunate development. There was only a slight delay, and that too because of the accident. It was a reasonable case that could have been condoned,” said national executive committee member L Ganesan, NDA candidate from South Chennai. A former state president of the BJP, Ganesan said the party would appeal the decision.
If these attempts are not successful, the contest will primarily be between Raja and AIADMK candidate C Gopalakrishnan, but it is difficult to predict who will gain by the BJP’s absence.
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Nilgiris was not the only place where the NDA candidate had trouble. In Chidambaram, PMK candidate K I Manirethinem was found ineligible as his nomination papers were not complete. Manirathinem was a Congress member who switched to the PMK after failing to get a ticket from his parent party. However, unlike in Nilgiris, the papers of substitute candidate Sudha, his wife, were accepted after scrutiny.
Sudha had been elected president of the Nattarmangalam all-women village panchayat in 2011, and won the ‘Outstanding Women Panchayat Leaders Award for 2013’ instituted by the Institute of Social Sciences, and her panchayat won ‘Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar Award for 2012-13’ instituted by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Manirathinem is a locally popular Dalit businessman who has been trying hard to contest from Chidambaram, where the Dalit party Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi’s leader Thol Thirumavalavan is the DMK-led DPA’s candidate. When he was refused the ticket, Vanniyar Sangam president “Kaduvetti” J Gurunathan MLA, the right hand of PMK president S Ramadoss, poached him from the Congress. This was almost a coup, as the Vanniyar community and Dalits have been locked in a battle that had flared in the recent past, with Guru allegedly an important player in it.