In a big blow to both the Sasikala and O Panneerselvam factions of the AIADMK, the Election Commission has ordered their party symbol to be frozen. Both the factions have been fighting over the symbol in order to get full control of the party as well as lay claim to former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa’s full legacy. The election symbol has been reportedly been frozen again after 29 years. The feud had reached the EC due to the RK Nagar bypoll.
The bypoll was made necessary due to Jayalalithaa’s death. The decision by EC comes in wake of giving a hearing to both the camps. Former Law Ministers M Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid, former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, senior advocates C S Vaidyanathan, G Krishnakumar and B Srinivasan have been fielded by both camps to fight their case to gain control of the ‘two leaves’ symbol.
The symbol issue does not span appointment of Sasikala as the interim general secretary of AIADMK.
What Panneerselvam is claiming is that Sasikala is only an interim general secretary and therefore she cannot give AIADMK’s election symbol of to her candidate in the R K Nagar assembly bypoll – they also said Sasikala appointment as general secretary was ‘bad in law’ as it violated party’s constitution. The right to allot symbol, Panneerselvam claims lies with party’s presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan.
What The Election Commission Said
“Neither of the two groups (O Panneerselvam and V.K. Sasikala) shall be permitted to use AIADMK name”
“Both groups are allowed a further and final opportunity of adducing documents and affidavits latest by 17th April, 2017”
“Both groups shall also be allotted such different symbols as they may choose from list of free symbols for current bye-poll in RK Nagar”
“Neither of the two groups shall be permitted to use the symbol ‘Two Leaves’ of AIADMK”
On the other hand, Sasikala claimed its right on the strength of closeness to Jaya as well as her precedent. She said after the death of M G Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa herself became an interim general secretary. She also claims support of majority of party delegates, MPs and MLAs.
For the bypoll in R K Nagar the Panneerselvam faction has fielded E Madhusudhanan’s as candidate, while Sasikala has named T T V Dinakaran, AIADMK Deputy General Secretary and nephew of Sasikala.