Vishal Krishna’s nomination papers for the group at Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK Nagar) were rejected on Tuesday by the Returning Officer K. Velusamy after two of the 10 people who proposed his candidacy claimed that their signatures had been falsified.
The actor, however, alleged that the two proponents made the accusations under duress.
The nomination documents submitted by the niece of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Deepa were also rejected as they left several mandatory columns blank.
The election official of the Chennai district, D. Karthikeyan, told The Hindu that the returning officer’s order “is a quasi-judicial order and can not be changed.”
A senior official of the Electoral Commission said that once the nomination documents are rejected, the only remedy available to an affected candidate would be to file a petition for election in the Madras High Court, challenging the decision of the returning Officer. “You can not even appeal to the District Electoral Officer or the Electoral Commission,” said the official, noting that an election process can not be suspended by the court once it is notified.
In accordance with the provisions of the Law of Representation of Persons, the candidacy of an independent candidate must be proposed by 10 people residing in the electoral district from where the candidate is presenting his nomination documents.
Mr. Velusamy said in his order that while examining the nomination documents of Mr. Vishal, two people, K. Sumathy and Deepan, whose names were on the list of proponents, made a statement that their signatures had been forged.
In response to this, Mr. Vishal introduced the Officer who returns an audio clip containing an alleged telephone conversation between him and a man related to Ms. Sumathy. The man was heard alleging that some supporters of the AIADMK candidate, E. Madhusudanan, had threatened the family members of the proponent to file a complaint that his signature had been falsified.
Holding that the veracity of the person’s assertion in the audio clip could not be determined, Mr. Velusamy late one night issued an order rejecting the actor’s nomination documents. The order said that the required number of 10 proposers had not validly proposed Mr. Vishal’s candidacy, and therefore had not fulfilled the conditions for a valid nomination.
When The Hindu asked Mr. Madhusudanan, an AIADMK candidate, about the actor’s accusation that his supporters had threatened Ms. Sumathy and Mr. Deepan, he said he was not aware of any of that. He did not answer any more questions.
Mr. Vishal, upon learning that his nomination documents were rejected, organized a dharna on the road in Tondiarpet, where the returning officer’s office is located, alleging that there was a dirty game.
An hour later, the actor, who met with the returning officer with his supporters, told reporters that the officials had reversed their decision and accepted their nomination documents. He continued to thank the Electoral Commission officials for doing the “right thing”. “Everything was investigated in the right way and the EC issued its judgment.” I do not want to go into detail about who is against me, who is trying to thwart my nomination and those things, “the actor told reporters.
He also added that he would now go to the constituency and meet with the people, and start a door-to-door campaign from Wednesday. “Everything has been a fight from the presentation of the nomination to the accepted nomination, if something good has to happen, there will be obstacles, we have already seen it,” he said referring to the elections to the Tamil Film Producers Council and Nadigar Sangam.
The actor also thanked some independents who were in the Return Officer’s office for extending their support after their documents were initially rejected. He also tweeted: “After a lot of struggle, my nomination for the RK Nagar election is finally accepted … Truth always triumphs! # JusticeServed # DemocracyPrevails”.
Objection to the “decision” of the returning Officer, a large number of AIADMK cadres gathered in front of the returning Officer’s office and demanded that the actor’s documents be rejected.
However, late in the evening, the Electoral Commission announced that of the 145 nominations received, only 72 were accepted and the rest were rejected for various reasons.
In the case of Ms. Deepa, a scrutiny of her affidavit showed that she had left the “Rupee Asset and Liabilities Details” section blank and even did not fill in the column for details of the highest