Chennai: Opposition leader M. K. Stalin, CPI, and VCK on Wednesday accused the Election Commission of India (ECI) of being "hand in glove" with the ruling party in rejecting the nomination papers of actor Vishal and demanded immediate removal of the Returning Officer in-charge of RK Nagar bypoll.
The political leaders also said the ECI was fast losing its credibility among people of Tamil Nadu due to its failure in curbing the money power in the now rescinded April 12 byelections and announcing the schedule for RK Nagar immediately after recognising EPS-OPS as the AIADMK and allotting the Two Leaves symbol to them.
While Stalin, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan demanded that the returning officer be immediately removed and an “independent officer” is appointed in his place, TNCC president Su Thirunavukarasar suggested Vishal to move the judiciary to get his grievances addressed.
However, BJP leader H. Raja said the Election Commission could not be “pressurised by any force” and asked Vishal and late J Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar to learn “a few lessons in politics” like “how to fill nomination papers.”
Speaking to reporters, DMK working president Stalin said the Vishal episode has exposed the atrocities of the ruling AIADMK in connivance with the Election Commission. “Tuesday’s incident (rejection of Vishal’s nomination) has amplified that the returning officer is helping the AIADMK Government and that he will carry out the instructions of those in power. The returning officer should be immediately removed,” Stalin said.
Echoing similar statement, Thirumavalavan said rejection of Vishal’s nomination papers seems to have been done due to “political pressure” and the act was against democracy. The behaviour of K. Velusa-my, the returning officer of R K Nagar shows that he is not able to function independently and the EC should replace with an “upright officer.”
“Who is the person who pressurised the RO? What will the ruling party gain by rejecting Vishal’s nomination? There seems to be a conspiracy to cancel the elections in RK Nagar,” Thirumavalavan said. Mutharasan also told reporters that the credibility of the ECI was at stake and asked the poll body to immediately remove the returning officer.