Bengaluru: The Election Commission (EC) late night on Tuesday rejected the nominations of Tamil actor Vishal and Deepa Jayakumar for the 21 December R.K. Nagar bypoll.

After much confusion and conflicting statements by Vishal himself, the EC said that his nomination was rejected upon conclusion of its summary enquiry.

“Upon the summary hearing, it is clear that the two proposers namely Smt. Sumathy and Thiru. Deepan have appeared in person and staked claim that it was not their valid signatures... Representatives of the nominee of Thiru. Vishal Krishnan only brought a telephonic audio clip, the veracity of the person speaking therein cannot be ascertained," said the EC in a statement.

“...Hence I conclude that required number of the proposers have not validly proposed the candidature of Thiru. Vishal Krishnan and that he had been proposed (by) only eight valid proposers and hence he has not fulfilled the conditions for valid nomination. Therefore, I conclude that the nomination of Thiru.Vishal Krishna filed in Sl No 72 is rejected upon my summary enquiry," the EC statement added.

Vishal’s nomination faced EC scrutiny after complaints that signatures of two of the mandatory 10 proposers was forged. After much confusion, arguments and protests, Vishal publicly stated that the EC returning officer had accepted the telephonic evidence submitted by the actor after which his nomination was accepted. “After much struggle, my nomination for the R.K. Nagar election is finally accepted.... Truth Always Triumphs !!", the actor had tweeted. But his jubilation was short-lived as EC in its final statement said that his nomination was rejected.

The nomination papers of Deepa Jayakumar, niece of Jayalalithaa, were also rejected by EC due to inadequate information. She alleged that her nomination was rejected on flimsy grounds and claimed there was a “political vendetta" to remove her from contention in R.K. Nagar bypolls. Deepa Jayakumar said that she would take up the matter legally.

Vishal, Deepa Jayakumar and the EC returning officer did not respond to calls seeking comment.

The rejection of the nominations of Vishal and Deepa Jayakumar is seen negating the shifting of votes from the three main contenders—AIADMK, T.T.V. Dhinakarn and the DMK—in the R.K. Nagar bypolls. The seat was last occupied by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa till her death on 5 December 2016.

The seat has become a battleground for all parties and candidates staking claim to the legacy of Jayalalithaa. Her death had plunged Tamil Nadu into political crisis—resulting in AIADMK’s split into factions led by T.T.V. Dhinakaran, CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam.

Palaniswami and Panneerselvam have since reunited leaving Dhinakaran and his aunt V.K. Sasikala, who is serving a four-year sentence in the Bengaluru central jail, fighting to regain control over the party and the Tamil Nadu government.

The ruling AIADMK has fielded senior leader E. Madhusudhanan as its candidate from R.K. Nagar. Dhinakaran is contesting on behalf of the rebel faction while the DMK has fielded N. Marudu Ganesh.

A total of 145 people have filed their nominations for the R.K. Nagar bypolls to be held on 21 December.

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