In a procedural goof-up, the Congress on Wednesday lost the Krishnagiri constituency without even a contest when the Election Commission rejected the alternative candidature of Syed Giyaz Ul Haq.

Earlier in the day, Hazeena Syed, who had originally been declared the Congress candidate, withdrew her nomination papers. She told reporters that the “mental torture” by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu had forced her to withdraw from contest. The Congress then wanted Mr. Haq, her husband, to be its official nominee.

2,773 candidates left in fray

As many as 2,773 candidates were left in fray in 234 Assembly constituencies all over the State after withdrawal of nominations came to an end at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

In all 313 candidates withdrew their nominations. The highest number of candidates is in Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in Chennai district with 31 nominees. Nagapattinam constituency has the lowest number of candidates, four. In Tirupur North, where 151 nominations were filed, 81 papers were rejected and 60 candidates withdrew from contest. Now, there are only 10 candidates.

Both Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa are contesting from the central region where about 435 candidates are trying their luck in 41 constituencies. As many as 119 candidates are left in the field in nine constituencies in Tiruchi district.

In the western region, 552 candidates are contesting in 57 Assembly constituencies spread across eight districts. Salem district has the highest number of contestants, 130, in 11 constituencies. In the southern districts, the total number of candidates is 736, including 124 in Tirunelveli.

The Chief Electoral Officer clarified that the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, being an unrecognised party, was given a common symbol, not exclusive symbol. This meant that in constituencies where the DMDK was not contesting, the symbol ‘nagara' could be given to Independents.

Police officers transferred

The Election Commission ordered the transfer of two police officers in Cheyyar as “they had failed to prevent unauthorised political meeting in an educational institution in the guise of parent-teacher association meeting.”

While R. Pandiarajan has been posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police, Cheyyar, in the place of K. Rajendran, K. Ramamurthy has been posted as Inspector of Police, Cheyyar, in the place of S. Nagarajan, who has been placed under suspension.