Lok Sabha polls | BJP, AIADMK cadres face-off in Udhagamandalam, police use force to disperse cadres

Lok Sabha polls | BJP, AIADMK cadres face-off in Udhagamandalam, police use force to disperse cadres

L. Murugan, BJP’s candidate for the Nilgiris and BJP leader K. Annamalai, along with BJP supporters, staged a protest at the old DPO junction after a face-off with the police, on Monday, March 25, 2024
| Photo Credit: Sathyamoorthy M

There was high drama in Udhagamandalam on Monday, March 25, 2024, after police resorted to the use of force to disperse both AIADMK and BJP cadres as tension flared over the filing of nominations.

According to the police, the time allotted to BJP’s L. Murugan to file his candidacy in Udhagamandalam for the Nilgiris seat, was around 12 noon. The state president of the party, K. Annamalai, as well as Mr. Murugan, offered poojas at a nearby temple and led a procession to the nomination filing center. At the same time, a time slot of around an hour later had been allotted to the AIADMK’s Lokesh Tamilselvan to file his nomination.

AIADMK candidate for the Nilgiris seat, Lokesh Tamilselvan filing his nomination papers in Udhagamandalam on Monday, March 25, 2024

AIADMK candidate for the Nilgiris seat, Lokesh Tamilselvan filing his nomination papers in Udhagamandalam on Monday, March 25, 2024
| Photo Credit:
Sathyamoorthy M

Due to the late arrival of the BJP’s top brass, the procession to the nomination center, which was to start from Commercial Road, was delayed. While Mr. Murugan was filing his nomination, top AIADMK party functionaries, including district secretary Kappachi D. Vinoth, Rajya Sabha MP A. K. Selvaraj, raised slogans outside the nomination center and demanded that Mr. Tamilselvan’s nomination be filed first, as the BJP had taken over their time slot.

Meanwhile, both AIADMK and BJP party members squared off against each other on Commercial Road in Udhagamandalam, and staged protests, forcing the police to use force to disperse the crowd.

L. Murugan BJP’s candidate for the Nilgiris seat, along with BJP leader K. Annamalai seen while filing his nomination in Udhagamandalam on Monday, March 25, 2024

L. Murugan BJP’s candidate for the Nilgiris seat, along with BJP leader K. Annamalai seen while filing his nomination in Udhagamandalam on Monday, March 25, 2024
| Photo Credit:
Sathyamoorthy M

Hearing of the police action, top brass from both parties, including Mr. Murugan and Mr. Annamalai staged a protest near the Collector’s office, demanding action against the police and the Nilgiris district superintendent of police. Following this, Nilgiris district superintendent of police, P. Sundaravadivel held talks with leaders of both parties and convinced them to disperse, stating that the police were only doing their best to maintain law and order.

The protests led to huge traffic disruptions in Udhagamandalam as weekend travellers, who were heading back were caught in the disruptions.

Both Mr. Murugan and Mr. Tamilselvan eventually filed their nominations before returning officer, M. Aruna.

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