2 Persons “Missing”, Says Actor Vishal In New Twist To RK Nagar By-Poll

CHENNAI:  In a fresh twist to the prestigious RK Nagar by-election in Chennai, actor Vishal on Thursday alleged that two persons, who proposed his candidature but later claimed their signatures were forged, had gone missing. Vishal has claimed that K. Sumathi and Deepan had backtracked under pressure from the ruling party and he was worried about their safety.

Vishal’s nomination papers were rejected on Wednesday after complaints that two of the ten people who proposed his name as a candidate, did not sign the forms. The election commission rejected his nomination because his nomination papers only had eight proposers, not ten as mandated under the law.

The decision was a big setback for the actor who had hoped to launch his political career with the by-election to the RK Nagar assembly seat in Chennai. The seat was left vacant by the death of J Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu chief minister in December last year.

That makes the seat a prestige battle for the AIADMK, which has fielded a senior leader, E Madhusudhanan, who has represented RK Nagar before in the state assembly. Also contesting the RK bye-election are sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran as an independent candidate and the DMK’s Marudhu Ganesh, an RK Nagar local.

Vishal plans to move court against the election commission’s decision but hasn’t given up hope that justice will prevail. Yesterday, he had tweeted President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining that his nomination for the December 21 by-election was “first accepted and later rejected.”

The actor is also learnt to have got in touch with the Election Commission in Delhi but was told to approach the Returning Officer instead.

Finding the two proposers and getting them to convince the Returning Officer that they had lied under pressure from a rival party was seen as Vishal’s only chance to get back into the race for RK Nagar seat.

But Vishal has made it clear that he was determined to make his presence felt in this election. The 40-year-old actor told NDTV that he could support a young, honest candidate.

Vishal’s entry into the fray was seen as a danger sign for the AIADMK as its candidate Madhusudhanan belongs to Andhra Pradesh, who makes up a sizeable chunk of voters in RK Nagar. Vishal could have cut into this support base as he is seen to have influence among Telugu people.

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