‘Pres­sure cooker’ for Dhi­nakaran

59 can­di­dates are in the fray for R.K. Na­gar by­elec­tion

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

G. SRIBHARATH ■

Ready to roll: T.T.V. Dhi­nakaran be­ing greeted by his sup­port­ers in Chennai on Thurs­day.

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