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Updated: April 9, 2014 12:24 IST

Has NDA’s only woman candidate complied with rules?

A. V. Ragunathan
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Sudha Manirathinem
Sudha Manirathinem

She sent in her letter of resignation as panchayat president through a lawyer instead of by registered post

Pattali Makkal Katchi candidate for Chidambaram Sudha Manirathinem has not conformed to the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act in submission of her resignation as Nattarmangalam panchayat president.

Cuddalore Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar told The Hindu that “as per the Act, a panchayat president who wants to resign the post should hand over the resignation letter in person to the Collector. If he or she could not do so, the letter should be sent to the Collector by registered post with acknowledgement due.”

But Ms. Manirathinem chose to send in her resignation through a lawyer. Another provision which she ought to comply with is that within 15 days of the submission of her resignation, the panchayat council should be convened and a resolution to accept her resignation should be adopted. According to the Collector, these are areas whereon only the Election Commission or the Chief Electoral Officer could shed light.

Meanwhile, as requested by his Ariyalur counterpart E. Saravanavelraj, who is the Returning Officer for Chidambaram, Mr. Kumar has sent a copy of her resignation letter to him.

Mr. Saravanavelraj told this correspondent that as of now, Ms. Manirathinem’s nomination had been accepted and orders issued for her candidature. Asked whether the post of panchayat president was an office of profit (a Lok Sabha election candidate ought to resign any post considered an office of profit), he said there was no clear explanation on this count.

“Yet, to be on the safer side, her resignation letter [its copy] has been obtained,” Mr. Saravanavelraj said. As the PMK was a registered party, a candidate contesting the election as its candidate ought to cite 10 proposers. But, since K.I. Manirathinem, who defected from the Congress to the PMK, failed to do so, his nomination was rejected.

The PMK’s advocate wing leader, K. Balu, said Mr. Manirathinem had acted in a hurry, so a lapse occurred in his nomination. It was customary for the party candidates to consult him [Mr. Balu] before their filed nominations.

Mr. Manirathinem filed all his four nomination papers (the maximum number a candidate can file) on the same day without realising the status of the PMK — whether a recognised or registered party.

“The PMK always advises the candidates to remain careful on this aspect. It instructs the aspiring candidates to file two or three nomination papers on the first day and the remaining papers at a later date, making sure that they have not gone wrong in providing any required details,” he said.

Fortunately, Ms. Manirathineam filed only three nomination papers on March 3. Later, after corrections, she filed another nomination on March 5 with the required number of 10 proposers, which was accepted, Mr. Balu said.

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