‘Pressure cooker’ for Dhinakaran
59 candidates are in the fray for R.K. Nagar byelection
Dissident AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, who is contesting the bypoll for the R.K. Nagar constituency as an independent candidate, was on Thursday denied the ‘hat’ symbol which he was allotted earlier this year. Instead, he was allotted the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol from the list of free symbols maintained by the Election Commission.
At the end of the last date for withdrawal of nominations, Returning Officer K. Velusamy declared that 59 candidates were in the fray after 13 independent candidates opted out of the race. AIADMK presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan, DMK’s Marudu Ganesh, Mr. Dhinakaran and BJP’s Karu Nagarajan are among the prominent faces trying their luck from the constituency.
Sources said Mr. Dhinakaran had sought the ‘hat’ symbol. But M. Ramesh, who is a candidate of a registered political party called Namathu Kongu Munnetra Kazhagam, was allotted the symbol. Officials said Mr. Ramesh was allotted the symbol as per the protocol of giving preference to registered political parties in the matter of allottment of ‘free symbols’.
Bahujan Samaj Party candidate A.C. Sathyamurthy of Pattabiram was allotted the ‘elephant’ symbol, another reserved symbol.
“He [Mr. Dhinakaran] was asked to make a choice from among a list of over 160 free symbols. He selected the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol,” said an official.
After being allotted the symbol, Mr. Dhinakaran started his campaign, visiting neighbourhoods such as Desingu Nagar and Cherian Nagar, promising electors that he would facilitate issuance of patta once elected. Many of the residents in the constituency do not have patta for the land in which their residence is built. “I opted for the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to give pressure to my rivals,” he told journalists.
When the Returning Officer allotted the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol to Mr. Madhusudanan, Mr. Dhinakaran’s lawyer objected to it, saying his client had legally challenged the allotment of the symbol to the ruling AIADMK by the Election Commission. However, the Returning Officer said the Election Commission’s order would remain valid.
Following the publication of the list of 59 candidates, the Chennai District Election Office will start printing and dispatch of postal ballot papers, printing of ballot papers for EVMs and preparing EVMs for handing over to the polling personnel, said an official.
Following a representation made by actor Vishal Krishna against the rejection of his nomination, Returning Officer enquired the two proposers — Deepan and Sumathy — in the presence of the Election General Observers.
However, the two proposers reiterated that they had not signed on the nomination paper of Mr. Vishal. “I conclude that the candidature of Vishal Krishna had not been proposed by 10 candidates. The representation of Mr. Vishal canot be considered favourably,” said Mr.Velusamy.
Ready to roll: T.T.V. Dhinakaran being greeted by his supporters in Chennai on Thursday.