The order is a clear setback for Ms Sasikala and her nephew and deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
New Delhi: The unified AIADMK, led by Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam, was on Thursday allotted the party’s “two leaves” symbol in a move that is seen to be a setback for the faction led by V.K. Sasikala.
In its order, the Election Commission said the EPS-OPS group enjoys the support of a majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the AIADMK.
“The group led by E. Madhusudhanan and others is hereby recognised... as the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is a recognised state party in the state of Tamil Nadu and in the Union territory of Puducherry, for whom the symbol ‘two leaves’ is reserved in the said state and Union territory,” the EC order said.
The order is a clear setback for Ms Sasikala and her nephew and deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran. Ms Sasikala is serving a four-year jail term in Bengaluru in a disproportionate assets case.
The Tamil Nadu CM expressed his happiness over the EC’s order and celebrations broke out at the party’s headquarters, with workers bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
The issue has been hanging since April this year after the announcement of the byelection in the R.K. Nagar Assem-bly constituency following the death of AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa in Dece-mber 2016.
Both the factions, led by Ms Sasikala and Mr Panneerselvam, had staked claim to the “two leaves” symbol. At that time, Mr Palaniswami was in the Sasikala camp.
The commission had in an interim order issued in March barred either of the factions from using the party’s name or its “two leaves” symbol in the bypoll. Following this, Mr Palaniswami and his followers revolted against Ms Sasikala and announced the merger of the two factions.
The “EPS-OPS” camp submitted affidavits before the commission staking claim over the party name and symbol, that was contested by Sasikala-Dhinakaran camp. In its order on Wednesday, the commission said its interim order freezing the symbol was withdrawn and rescinded, and it will no longer be operative.