HOURS AFTER a dramatic Tuesday night at the election commission (EC) office for the bypoll to RK Nagar constituency in Chennai, during which Tamil actor Vishal first tweeted that his nomination has been accepted and later posted that it was rejected and that “democracy (is) at its lowest low!!”, the actor on Wednesday tweeted to official handles of the Prime Minister and the President, calling the EC decision “totally unfair”.
The returning officer (RO), K Velusamy, rejected the actor-producer’s nomination during the scrutiny process when two of 10 people residing in the constituency, who had proposed Vishal’s candidature as per provisions of the Representation of People Act, claimed that their signatures were forged.
Another high-profile nomination rejected on Tuesday was that of Deepa, former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s niece, as certain mandatory information was not provided in her nomination papers.
Vishal, who has blamed the ruling AIADMK’s official candidate for scripting the technical ground on which his nomination was rejected, met Tamil Nadu’s chief electoral officer Rajesh Lakhoni on Wednesday and also said he plans to meet state Governor Banwarilal Purohit to lodge a “complaint” on the matter. He said he has submitted a written complaint to Lakhoni detailing Tuesday’s events.
On Wednesday morning, he tweeted, “To the people I look upto, Hon @narendramodi & Hon @rashtrapatibhvn I am Vishal, I hope u r aware of wats happening in the RK Nagar Election process in Chennai. My nomination was accepted & later rejected. Totally unfair. I bring this to your notice & I hope justice prevails.”
The bypoll to RK Nagar constituency, on December 21, is necessitated by Jayalalithaa’s death.
In his order, the RO said that Vishal’s nomination was rejected on representation of K Sumathy and Deepan, who claimed their signatures were forged. Vishal had submitted a tape of a relative of Sumathy, alleging that the family had been bribed and threatened by supporters of AIADMK candidate E Madhusudhanan (rebel AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran is also in the fray).
On Tuesday, Vishal emerged from the EC office around 8.30 pm, claiming that his nomination was finally accepted. EC officials told the media that it was kept in abeyance. The rejection was finally confirmed around 11.30 pm.
On rejecting the nomination despite Vishal submitting a tape as “evidence” against the alleged use of money and muscle power by the ruling party’s candidate, Velusamy’s order, issued around 11.30 pm on Tuesday, said authenticity of the audio clip could not be ascertained. He said today, “Those two persons (Sumathy and Deepan) appeared before me and said they did not propose or sign Vishal’s nomination papers. We have videographed their statement. Later, Vishal played an audio and video… I was not able to ascertain authenticity of that evidence, especially when we can fabricate such evidence.”