Election Miscellany

Street-corner hoardings and miniature flags tied to a cord running across the streets were still in place in parts of Chetpet on Saturday. Corporation workers at work there said they were asked to remove the flags and posters that were left behind by the party workers after the road show the previous day.

Any flag, hoarding, banner or cut-out in public places is against law and it should not be done, said the Corporation Commissioner, M.P. Vijayakumar. The civic body has been instructed to remove them.

A police officer said the police registered cases against party volunteers whenever they received complaints under the Open Places Defacement Act. The police, he said, insisted on written complaints from the persons concerned or those authorised by the district electoral officers. On Friday, two cases were registered against party men at Elephant Gate and Flower Bazaar Police Stations. Cases have also been registered in Sembium Police Station, he added.

The Janata Dal (United) candidate, J. Ananta Raj, who filed nomination for the Central Chennai Parliamentary constituency, was angry on Saturday when he was informed that his nomination was rejected after scrutiny.

The returning officer, M. P. Vijayakumar, said Mr. Ananta Raj had, in his nomination papers, not established the presence of his name in the electoral rolls.

But the candidate contended that he had given letters for inclusion in the electoral rolls to the electoral registration officers on two occasions, but to no avail. He said he had contested in Anna Nagar in the 1996 Assembly elections as a Samata Party candidate.

(On perusal of the 1996 election results, it was revealed that Mr. Ananta Raj had indeed contested.

He had secured 116 votes.)

So did his nomination pass through? Mr. Vijayakumar stuck to the rule book and insisted that he had to reject the nomination since the candidate's name was not found on the electoral rolls at the time of scrutiny.

A visibly angry Mr. Ananta Raj was lingering in the Ripon Building corridors till late in the day.

Places of worship assume added importance, particularly during electioneering, by visits of major party candidates.

On Saturday, soon after his arrival at the Sarma Nagar junction in Vyasarpadi around 10.15 a.m., the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate for North Chennai, M.N. Sukumaran Nambiar, proceeded directly to the Selvapillai Perumal Temple.

Not to be outdone, party volunteers also went along with him.

After worship, Mr. Nambiar got on to an open jeep and began his campaigning, waving and greeting to the crowd.

As he passed along, he hoisted a BJP flag; smilingly accepted a shower of flowers from people who were atop the first floor of a house. At another place, enthusiastic residents circled lighted camphor in front of him.

Chennai had only one Lok Sabha constituency in 1951-52, when the first general election took place. In the next election (1957), the number of seats went up by one with the creation of Madras North constituency, the other being Madras South.

Twenty years later (1977), one more constituency - Madras Central - was added to the city.

(Contributed by Saptrshi Battacharya, Karthik Subramanian, K. T. Sangameswaran and T. Ramakrishnan.)

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