Chennai: Dealing a body blow to the ruling AIADMK, the Election Commission on Wednesday night temporarily froze the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol, preventing both the VK Sasikala and O.Panneerselvam factions from using the name of the party in the by-election to the Dr R K Nagar constituency slated for April 12. The EC’s order is a serious setback to the Sasikala faction since freezing of the symbol by the poll body has given legitimacy to the Panneerselvam faction, which has been claiming they are the “original” AIADMK since the latter’s appointment as AIADMK General Secretary was not valid.
This is the second time in the history of AIADMK that the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol is being frozen. The symbol was frozen in 1988 after VN Janaki and J. Jayalalithaa factions staked claim to the symbol and the party, but was allotted to the AIADMK after the party united under late Jayalalithaa. After a marathon hearing on Wednesday during which top lawyers put up their cases before the full bench of the Election Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, a 9-page order from the poll body said they did not have time to go through “voluminous petitions” and responses from both sides running into 20,000 pages.
“Neither of the two groups led by petitioners (E. Madhusudhanan, O. Panneerselvam and S Semmalai) and the respondents (V.K. Sasikala and T.T.V. Dhinakaran) shall be permitted to use the name of the party ‘All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’, simplicitor,” the EC order said. “Neither of the aforesaid two groups shall also be permitted to use the symbol “Two Leaves” reserved for AIADMK,” the order further said.
EC to hear case after bypoll:
While freezing the Two Leaves symbol, the Election Commission on Wednesday said it would hold further hearings to decide on the crucial issue and asked both factions to submit documents to further strengthen their claims by April 17. As it made it clear that the order issued on Wednesday was of temporary in nature, the EC said both groups are “allowed a further and final opportunity” of adducing all such documents and affidavits on which they propose to rely on their respective claims, latest by April 17.
“They may also take notice that the matter will be further heard by the Commission on a date to be intimated later,” the EC said. The EC will conduct further hearings after the by-elections to D r R K Nagar are over on April 12 and votes counted on April 15....