Ruling AIADMK faction gets 'two leaves' symbol.
AIADMK workers of the ruling faction hold the newly allotted election symbol "two leaves" at the party headquarter in Chennai yesterday.
In a blow to the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) faction led by the now jailed V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dinakaran, the election commission yesterday allotted the hugely popular "two leaves" symbol to the faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. The announcement was greeted with joy by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam while their supporters burst crackers and distributed sweets. "The commission is of the opinion that the petitioners group led by E Madhusudhanan, O Panneerselvam and S Semmalai and also supported presently by the impleading applicant K Palaniswami enjoys support of majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the AIADMK. "The group led by Madhusudhanan and others is hereby recognised as the AIADMK, which is a recognised state party in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry, for whom the symbol 'two leaves' is reserved," the commission said in an 83-page order on the dispute in the party that arose after the death of then chief minister J Jayalalithaa. It said the group led by Madhusudhanan would be entitled to use the name of the party and 'two leaves'. "We have got the symbol... We will decide on the candidate for R K Nagar constituency after discussing with party leaders," a visibly pleased Palaniswami said. The by-election, caused by Jayalalithaa's death, has to be held by December 31. "The election commission has given a just decision. We are happy and the party's 15mn members will be happy," he said. However, Dinakaran said the election commission's order would be challenged in the court, alleging the poll body had not acted in a neutral manner. He also wondered why the poll body froze the symbol and the name in March when the faction led by Sasikala and Dinakaran had the support of 122 legislators and 37 MPs. The commission rejected the contention. "The commission does not see any merit in the argument... The commission had not prohibited by the interim order any merger between the rival groups for the purpose of their unification," it said. The commission recalled that even when a dispute arose in AIADMK in 1987 after the death of then chief minister M G Ramachandran, it took into account the subsequent developments in the party which led to the merger and unification of rival factions. On the claims by the Sasikala faction that millions of AIADMK members in Tamil Nadu and adjoining states were with it, the commission said it cannot be expected to hold a referendum among the primary members and verify individual claims.
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