While families of 2000-odd fishermen in the southern tip of Tamil Nadu are still waiting to hear if their kin who had gone to sea, on the day when cyclone Ockhi blew strong, will come back to the shore, the northern part of the state, rather the capital, witnessed a high political drama.
The day began with all the AIADMK ministers and the party seniors sporting white dhotis and black shirts walked down from Anna statue on the arterial Anna Salai to the beach side grave of their beloved 'Amma'. With grim faces, the ministers paid tribute to the former chief minister on the first anniversary of her death. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam administered a pledge.
Then it was the turn of T.T.V. Dhinakaran, the ousted AIADMK deputy general secretary, to visit the memorial. As huge crowd barged into the memorial complex, most of TTV’s men were stopped at the gate by the police, leading to a chaos.
By the evening, the drama and commotion shifted to Jayalalithaa’s erstwhile constituency RK Nagar, which goes to polls on December 21. Actor-producer Vishal and his team of supporters launched a sit in protest in front of the Returning Officer’s office, after his nomination was rejected.
As police asked them to vacate the place, the actor lost his cool, like in his films, and began screaming at the cops. “I was called by them at 5.30 pm to say that two of the proposers' signature are forged. The office hours are only till 5 pm. I want justice. This is not justice,” he shouted before the media cameras. Vishal was detained along with his supporters as they sat on a dharna on the road.
Vishal is already facing the wrath from a section of the cinema fraternity; director Cheran has been on a sit in protest at the Producer Council office demanding that either Vishal withdraw his nominations to RK Nagar or he resign from the Producers Council as its president. Actor Radhika Sarathkumar and T.R. Rajendar even called him a “chameleon”.
Vishal later released two audio clips, in which his proposers are allegedly being threatened for supporting him. In one of the clips, Vishal is heard speaking to Velu, husband of one of his proposers. A few hours later his nomination papers were accepted.
Dharna, audio clips and shouting slogans ensured Vishal gets into the fray—very much in a cinematic style. But this is the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu that the Election Commission has been taken to task by an actor for rejecting his nomination and later fallen in line. Vishal is the president of the Producers Council and general secretary of South Indian Artists' Association.
Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar’s nomination has been rejected as she did not fill the form 26 details in her nomination paper. Earlier, a total of 54 nominations including Vishal and Deepa were rejected and 59 nominations were accepted. Later the number of those accepted has become 60 and those rejected came down to 53.