- Vishal's nomination papers were rejected on Wednesday
- His star power is seen as direct threat to AIADMK candidate's prospects
- The actor alleges his proposers are under threat from AIADMK
When NDTV visited their houses in RK Nagar, the woman, K Sumathi, was not at home. Her family and neighbours say they don't know about her whereabouts and are scared to even talk about the issue. A family member from inside the house said, "A woman in our family is missing. We are all tense. Please understand."
In another part of RK Nagar, the other person, Deepan, was also not at home. His family says he's away as his grandmother died. "Leave us alone. Our life is under threat. Deepan has to live. We have nothing to say," a relative later told NDTV.
The relative, however, wouldn't say who was threatening them, nor comment on Vishal's claim that Deepan had signed as a proposer.
Vishal's star power and Telugu roots are being seen as a direct threat to prospects of AIADMK's candidate Madhusudanan, who too, many insiders say, banks on the community's support. But the party denies the actor's allegations. Ma Foi Pandiarajan, Tamil Culture Minister, said "All those allegations are untrue."
The DMK, meanwhile, has sought the transfer of the Returning Officer who rejected Vishal's nomination. The party says the officer failed to conduct a scientific investigation into allegations of forgery. DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said, "He should have asked for their recent signatures and if there was similarity and no evidence of forgery he should not have rejected his papers. Nowhere the Election Commission says if there is an allegation of forgery the paper has to be rejected."
Sources in the Election Commission say proposers turning against candidates is unprecedented and it exposes loopholes that could be misused.
Vishal's nomination papers were rejected on Wednesday after complaints that two of the ten people who proposed his name as a candidate, did not sign the forms. The election commission rejected his nomination because his nomination papers only had eight proposers, not ten as mandated under the law.
The decision was a big setback for the actor who had hoped to launch his political career with the by-election to the RK Nagar assembly seat in Chennai. The seat was left vacant by the death of J Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu chief minister in December last year.