Madurai

When winking and glaring stopped polls

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Believe it. Indirect election to the post of Chairpersons of two panchayat unions in Virudhunagar district was stopped reportedly over winking of eyes and glaring at councillors of a rival party.

A casual look at the strength of councillors belonging to different parties would reveal that the DMK, (without any cross voting) would have made a cakewalk in Rajapalayam panchayat union. However, in Sattur, the DMK was just one short of a simple majority in the 16-member council.

In Rajapalayam panchayat union, where DMK had 15 councillors against 9 AIADMK councillors, G. Singaraj of DMK was pitted against M. Kanda Krishnakumar of the AIADMK.

As the AIADMK insisted that the voting by the members should be done as per the numerical order of the wards, the AIADMK member K. Mariammal (Ward 1) was the first to cast her vote.

“After she exercised her franchise, the Returning Officer made her to sit separately from other councillors. Just then, R. Vallimayil (ward 2-DMK) had started to cast her vote, when Mr. Kanda Krishnakumar shouted at one of our councillors,” said Mr. Singaraj. “His contention was that our councillor had glared at Ms. Mariammal. It was then the RO asked him not to shout and all of a sudden Mr. Kanda Krishnakumar started yelling at the RO complaining that he was supporting the DMK,” Mr. Singaraj said.

The AIADMK men joined their candidate and it resulted in a ruckus after which the ballot box was pushed down. The RO said that he would stop the election to which the DMK objected as they claimed that only the AIADMK was creating trouble.

“Immediately, the RO said that he developed chest pain. The police then removed us from the hall,” he complained.

“The entire election process was being videographed and it would reveal who was at the wrong end. If the State Election Commission cannot conduct a proper election with just 24 councillors in a closed door amid a huge posse of policemen, what kind of election is this? Why did not the police register any case against trouble mongers,? “ asked DMK Rajapalayam MLA S. Thangapandian.

Meanwhile, even before the election process could start at Sattur, one of the AIADMK councillor complained that a DMK councillor had signalled at a ruling party woman member by “winking” and that was enough to stop the election.

AIADMK has five members, DMK 8, one BJP and two independents in Sattur.

The ROs said that the election in both the unions were postponed due to law and order problem.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 9:21:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/when-winking-and-glaring-stopped-elections/article30548442.ece

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