After several twists and turns over the course of a few hours, the Returning Officer announced that actor Vishal’s nomination papers had been rejected for the RK Nagar bye-polls.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday night, Returning Officer Velusamy stated that Vishal’s nomination papers had come under scrutiny after objections were raised over the genuinity of the proposers. The RO goes on to state that two proposers – Sumathy and Deepan – had appeared in person and “submitted written representation that they had not proposed the nomination of Thiru Vishal Krishna and their signatures have been forged”.
Velusamy states that Vishal had appeared before him and had produced an audio clip that purportedly claimed that proposer Sumathy had been coerced by some persons to appear before him.
However, the Returning Officer concludes, “Upon the summary hearing, it is clear that two proposers, namely Smt Sumathy and Thiru Deepan have appeared in person and staked claim that it was not their valid signatures and the representative of the nominee of Thiru Vishal Krishna only brought a telephonic audio clip, the veracity of the person speaking therein cannot be ascertained and hence I conclude that the required number of the proposers have not validly proposed the candidature of Thiru Vishal Krishna and that he has been proposed only by 8 valid proposers and hence he has not fulfilled the conditions for valid nomination. Therefore, I conclude that the nomination for Thiru Vishal Krishna filed in SL No. 72 is rejected upon my summary enquiry.”
Vishal is the second high-profile candidate to have his nomination papers rejected, after MGR Amma Deepa Peravai's Deepa.
Minutes after the rejection was first announced, Vishal and his team of supporters started a sit-in protest outside the Returning Officer's office. As soon as the protest began, the Chennai police surrounded the protesters and demanded that they vacate the area.
Following this, the actor held a news conference announcing that his papers had been accepted.
"All good things take effort and we protested here today till we got justice. The claim that two signatures were forged is a lie," said the actor. "I thank the Election Commission for this decision," he added.
The actor had earlier alleged that the AIADMK had threatened two of his proposers, forcing them to claim their signatures were forged.
Deepa who earlier spoke to TNM said that, "The AIADMK is scared of Vishal's star power. That is why they may be trying to ensure he doesn't contest."
Vishal, who is Nadigar Sangam's General Secretary and the President of the Tamil Film Producers Council, had taken many by surprise by announcing his political entry on Saturday. He had filed his nomination papers on Monday – the last day for filing.