The “two leaves” symbol of All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) was awarded to the merged faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi K Palaniswami and his deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday, sparking celebrations by their supporters all over the State and lending a huge setback to political ambitions of VK Sasikala.
The Election Commision(EC) has through its decision laid t rest a long-standing dispute over claim to the symbol which it froze in March after the State’s ruling party split following death of its long-time ruling chief minister J Jayalalitha.
The EC Order read “The Commission is of the considered opinion that the petitioner’s group led by (textiles ministers) E Madhusudhanan, O Panneerselvam and (former minister) S Semmalali and also supported presently by the impleading applicant EK Palaniswami, the present chief minister of Tamil Nadu, enjoys support of a majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the AIADMK.”
In September, a Madurai bench of the Madras High Court directed the EC to decide by 31 October which faction is eligible for the ‘two leaves’ symbol.
Although the major factions – EPS & OPS -that fought neck-and-neck after the split unified this year, fresh crisis erupted after Sasikala’s nephew Dhinakaran rebelled against the merged group and laid claim to the symbol.
With OPS EPS crowd escatic, Dinakaran criticised the order saying “EC has not functioned in independent manner, it has acted on wishes of the central govt”
“We will approach Supreme Court,” he added.