New Delhi, Nov 23 In a blow to the AIADMK faction led by the now jailed V.K. Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran, the Election Commission on Thursday allotted the hugely popular "two leaves" symbol to the faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
"The Commission is of the considered opinion that the petitioners group led by E. Madhusudhanan, O. Panneerselvam and S. Semmalai and also supported presently by the impleading applicant K. Palaniswami enjoys support of majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
"The group led by Madhusudhanan and others is hereby recognized as the AIADMK, which is a recognized State Party in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry, for whom the symbol 'Two Leaves' is reserved," the Commission said in an 83-page order on the dispute in the party that arose after the death of then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
It said the group led by Madhusudhanan would be entitled to use the name of the party and its reserved symbol 'two leaves'.
The Commission felt that the group led by Madhusudhanan was recognised in terms of para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, as the AIADMK.
Further, it said the interim order dated March 22 passed by the Commission in the context of R.K Nagar by-election was hereby withdrawn and rescinded and that order shall no longer be operative for any purposes under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
"We have got the symbol... We will decide on the candidate for R.K. Nagar constituency after discussing with party leaders," a visibly pleased Palaniswami told the media in Chennai.
"The Election Commission has given a just decision. We are happy and the party's 1.5 crore members will be happy. We have a majority of officer bearers, MLAs and MPs (with us)," he said.
After the death of Jayalalithaa in December last year, the AIADMK split into two factions -- one led by Panneerselvam and the other by the now jailed Sasikala.
Subsequently, the Sasikala faction broke up again, with Chief Minister Palaniswami branching away and forming a government with the backing of Panneerselvam. The two factions also started sidelining the AIADMK group led by Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran.
Later, the Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions merged, annulled the appointment of Sasikala as the General Secretary and struck down the appointments made by her before she went to jail for corruption.