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High drama in Madurai: Forward Bloc candidates 'confined'

Written by: Staff
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Madurai, Apr 24 (UNI) Reacting to the alleged relentless attempts by rivals to poach its nominees for the Assembly elections, the Forward Bloc (FB) has confined 60 of its candidates since yesterday.

Invited for a consultation on the party's campaign strategy, 60 of the 64 candidates in the fray were kept indoors in the spacious hall till this evening, the deadline for withdrawals. Three of them were women, including Pandiammal alias Subbulakshmi, a Dalit contesting in Sankarankoil in Tirunelveli District.

Though the party had fielded 77 candidates, mostly in the southern districts, a few had switched to the AIADMK while the papers of some others were not found in order during scrutiny. The party's nominee for Thirumangalam, G Senthil committed suicide, reportedly following threats from the ruling AIADMK to step out of the contest. Interestingly, the FB candidate for Andipatti, from where Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa is seeking re-election, joined the ruling party after withdrawing his papers.

The hall was kept locked and outsiders were denied entry. Though FB State President film star Karthik turned up only this evening, the atmosphere was like a get-together. From yesterday morning food was prepared for all those in the hall. Relatives of the candidates, who came here from distant places, were seen in large numbers at the hall waiting to visit them. They too were given food.

Apart from 25 candidates, segregated and kept in four rooms, the rest were allowed to move about in the hall. Private security personnel engaged by the actor were posted. Those segregated were let out of their rooms only for food.

Arriving late in the evening, Karthik stopped short of charging the AIADMK with attempting to poach the FB's candidates. For, there were reports of Karthik himself being held hostage to prevent him from filing his papers in Andipatti. Asking them not to be perturbed over threats from rivals, he assured candidates all protection to face the poll. He would commence his campaign tomorrow, the celluloid hero added.

All the 60, 'freed' in the evening, proceeded towards their respective constituencies.

UNI CR RL VP2043

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