The Election Commission on Thursday allotted the ‘two leaves’ symbol to the unified AIADMK led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, dealing a blow to the Sasikala faction.
The EC said the EPS-OPS group “enjoys the support of majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam”.
The order of the Commission is a setback to deposed party leader V K Sasikala, who is currently serving a four-year sentence in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case, and her nephew and sidelined deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran.
The EC said the “said 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.”
In Chennai, Palaniswami described the development as the happiest day for the party. Celebrations broke out at the party headquarters with AIADMK workers bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
The issue has been lingering since April in the aftermath of the announcement of by-poll to RK Nagar Assembly constituency following the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December last year.
Rival factions then led by Sasikala and Panneerselvam respectively had staked claim over the symbol. Edappadi K Palaniswami was then in the Sasikala camp.
In an interim order in March this year, the commission barred the two factions from using the party’s name or its two leaves symbol in the bypoll.
Later, a large number of legislators led by Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala, who is in jail in a disproportionate assets case, and announced the merger of the two factions.
The EPS-OPS camp then submitted affidavits before the EC staking claim over the party name and symbol, which was contested by Sasikala-Dhinakaran camp.
The Commission today said its interim order freezing the symbol stands “withdrawn and rescinded” and that order will no longer be operative for any purposes.