Transfer sends strong message, flagpoles and hoardings removed

MADURAI, APRIL 24. The shifting of the Madurai City Police Commissioner, Vijay Kumar, by the Election Commission (EC) has sent strong signals across the district, with police and revenue officials removing all flagpoles and hoardings put up at Melur, near here, even as All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) men threatened to stage a road roko.

Mr. Vijay Kumar was shifted yesterday based on reports sent by the election observers on model code violations in the city.

The AIADMK men woke up to a shock, as the police had removed hundreds of flags and a few hoardings put up along the Madurai-Tiruchi highway to receive their general secretary, Jayalalithaa, last night.

The partymen, led by the Melur MLA, R. Samy, raised objections and threatened to block the highway. However, the tahsildar, R. Dharmar, and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, M. Palanisamy, pacified them. The officials told them that the EC had objected to putting up such materials along the national highway.

One of the observers, Radhey Shyam Julaniya, who visited the town in the afternoon, directed the officials to remove all election paraphernalia. The returning officer and Collector, B. Chandra Mohan, also inspected the town later in the day.

The officials, who acted tough, did not spare even the flagpoles ubiquitous at all meeting venues. Four illuminated cut-outs, 13 hoardings, hundreds of flags and festoons were among the items removed.

On April 19, the Chief Minister was given a rousing welcome by the partymen with illuminated cut-outs, hundreds of flagpoles, hoardings, tubelights and colourful festoons erected along the city roads when she addressed a public meeting on the Tamukkam Grounds here.

The EC had banned putting up of hoardings not only in public places but also in private places, an official said.

Collector seeks report

The Virudhunagar Collector and returning officer of the Sivakasi constituency, A. Mohamed Aslam, today sought a report from the police on an alleged quarrel involving the Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Inbathtamilan, and revenue officials at Tiruthangal, near Sivakasi.

The Minister and his supporters allegedly picked up a quarrel with the tahsildar, Balu, when he ordered removal of flagpoles and hoardings put up by the AIADMK cadres, in connection with the Chief Minister's campaign in the district on Monday.

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