DMDK not in fray; six independents file papers on last day

It’s a straight contest between the ruling AIADMK and the DMK in Yercaud. With the DMDK not filing nomination for the first time in a byelection the contest will determine if there is any erosion in the AIADMK support base. The DMDK has refused to state the reason for not fielding a candidate.

Six independent candidates filed their papers on the rain-hit final day for filing nominations. A total of 27 candidates filed their papers from November 9 to 16, including three women candidates.

Barring the DMK’s V. Maran and the AIADMK’s P. Saroja and their alternative nominees, the others are independents and those attached to unrecognised parties. The nominations will be scrutinised on November 18. The last date for withdrawing the nominations is November 20.

‘All Ministers in Yercaud’

All the 32 Ministers in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Government are camping at Yercaud and are misusing their powers by using officials from various departments for the election work, Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (DMK) Yercaud election in-charge Pon. Muthuramalingam alleged here on Saturday.

“We have confirmed such incidents of misuse of power and informed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Saturday,” he told presspersons.

DMK deputy general secretary V.P. Duraisamy alleged that government officials were asked to meet the Ministers secretly and used for distributing money and gifts to voters. “The party is indulging in such illegal activities to ensure that their nominee wins the byelection on December 4”, he said.

In their complaint to the CEO, the party has also claimed that the ruling party was planning to capture booths in inaccessible areas. This includes 12 of the total 41 polling booths atop Yercaud hills and 33 booths in the plains in Ayothiyapattinam, Vazhapadi and Bethanayakanpalayam Unions.

About the inclusion of 5,556 new voters in the electoral roll for the byelection, DMK district secretary (in-charge), S.R. Sivalingam, suspected that these included persons from other districts who were illegally added to the voters list.

Charges denied

The AIADMK’s Member of the Parliament from Salem, S. Semmalai, told The Hindu that the charges of the DMK were totally baseless. “When the DMK was in power, the party misused officials by using them for malpractices, such as distributing money and gifts to the voters. The party also indulged in booth-capturing. Therefore, it suspects that the AIADMK will also indulge in such practices. We are not a party that would indulge in illegal acts to get votes”, he said.

Minister for Highways and Minor Ports Edappadi K. Palaniswami has refuted charges levelled against him by the DMK that he had unauthorisedly used a private vehicle and escort personnel of the State police when party nominee P. Saroja filed her papers on November 13. The Minister said he had duly obtained permission from the Election Officer for using the vehicle and, escort personnel were from Central Industrial Security Force. There was no truth in the complaint, he said.

IUML to support DMK

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) will extend its support to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the by-poll scheduled at Yercaud in Salem district and launch an election campaign in favour of the DMK candidate, according to K.M. Kader Mohideen, general secretary and IUML State president.

Talking to reporters in Tirunelveli on Saturday, he said a meeting had been called for on November 22 to discuss poll strategies with the DMK and its coalition parties.

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