Special Correspondent

Call for ouster of Minister and Municipal Commissioner

CHIDAMBARAM: The Pattali Makkal Katchi councillors boycotted the maiden session of the Chidambaram municipal council on Wednesday and held a demonstration with their mouths covered with black cloth to register their protest against the alleged "malpractices in the municipal elections."

They called for re-poll to the municipal council and removal of Backward Classes Welfare Minister M.R.K. Panneer Selvam and Chidambaram municipal Commissioner R. Ramani from office for their alleged role in rigging the election. Led by the PMK State vice-president V.M.S. Chandira Pandian, member of the party's disciplinary action committee Devadas Padaiyandavar, district secretary V. Kannan, and town secretary A. Ramesh, the councillors and party men observed dharna near the Periyar statue on West Street.

Mr. Chandira Pandian told The Hindu that the chairman post was originally allotted to the PMK, but the Backward Classes Welfare Minister, by overlooking the alliance dharma, engineered the election in favour of Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Fouzia Begum.

He claimed that in the 33-member council, the PMK enjoyed the support of 17 councillors (including PMK - three, AIADMK - six, MDMK - two, DMDK - one and Independents - five) and yet its candidate C. Anbarasi was defeated owing to bogus voting.

Repeat action

In the vice-chairman election too, councillor Raja Mansingh found a marking in the ballot paper and returned it to the Commissioner Ramani, but the latter ruled it as "polled, yet invalid." Such a devious act had made Ms. Anbarasi, who again contested for vice-chairman post, to concede defeat to Mangaiyarkarasi of the DMK.

Hence, the PMK was demanding their ouster and a re-poll, and the party founder S. Ramadoss would take up the issue with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Meanwhile, the council session chaired by Ms. Fouzia Begum passed all the 15 resolutions on the agenda in the presence of just 15 councillors. As the Minister was scheduled to participate in the session, the councillors belonging to the AIADMK, the MDMK and the DMDK too stayed away.