RK Nagar's Returning Officer replaced after actor Vishal's disqualification from contesting polls sparks row

Chennai: The Election Commission on Saturday ordered a change of Returning Officer for Tamil Nadu's Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK) Assembly constituency, where the bypoll will be held on 21 December, said an official.

The poll body has appointed Praveen P Nair as the Returning Officer in the place of  K Velusamy who was in the eye of controversy rejecting the nomination papers filed by actor Vishal Krishna, popularly known as actor Vishal.

The DMK also made a written complaint to the Election Commission against Velusamy on Saturday, demanding his replacement as it alleged the official "is functioning with a biased and discriminatory mind" and that he "has also deliberately failed in following the procedure to be adhered to in the election process".

File image of Tamil acotr Vishal Krishna. PTI

File image of Tamil actor Vishal Krishna. PTI

"Our party candidate has given an application on 29 November to set up a central election office in the jurisdiction of the Assembly constituency. The said application was kept pending deliberately without any reason whatsoever for more than 10 days because of the pressure of ruling AIADMK," it said.

"It is only after our party announced an agitation; the returning officer had given permission for setting up the central election office on 8 December. We were deprived of having an official central election office for more than 10 days which is a clear negligence on the part of the Returning Officer," it added.

The DMK also referred to the manner in which Vishal's nomination form was handled is also a reason for demanding Velusamy's shifting.

"The Returning Officer has become a laughing stock in the eye of the public which the commission may take note of," it told the Election Commission.

The Returning Officer rejected Vishal's nomination papers, saying the signatures of two proposers were forged.

Vishal also tweeted to President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to bring his plight to their notice.

In his tweet, the actor said:

"My nomination was accepted & later rejected. Totally unfair. I bring this to your notice & I hope justice prevails." On Saturday, Vishal uploaded a video clip on his Twitter account in which a person was seen telling the EC official that the signature he made was not his.

"The person accepting that the signature made by him is not his."

"He said & I quote, 'Naan Potta Kaiyeludhu Enododhu Illai' (the signature I made is not mine)," Vishal tweeted.

The major contest in the seat, which was held by late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, will be between the ruling AIADMK's E Madhusudhanan), DMK's N Marudhu Ganesh and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran (also spelled as Dinakaran), contesting as an Independent candidate.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded K Nagarajan as its candidate.

The RK Nagar seat fell vacant following the death of Jayalalithaa on 5 December, 2016.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2017 21:31:55 IST

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