Election Commission grants 'two leaves' symbol to unified AIADMK

EC allots'two leaves symbol to ruling Palaniswami Pannerselvam faction

With the magical Two Leaves symbol back with the AIADMK, political analysts say, the Chief Minister and his deputy will have no excuse to justify if they don't reap political dividends in the bypolls.

In an 83-page order, the poll body ruled that the Palaniswami- Panneerselvam (EPS-OPS) faction will be entitled to use the name of the party and its reserved symbol, holding that it enjoyed majority in the party's legislative and organisational wings. The ruling faction has 34 Lok Sabha members, 8 Rajya Sabha members and 111legislators in Tamil Nadu assembly, besides four in Puducherry as against Dinakaran faction's three Lok Sabha members, three Rajya Sabha members and 20 legislators, including the 18 who stand disqualified under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution. Palaniswami described the development as a "welcome step" and the happiest day for the party.

Consequently, leaders who had submitted sworn affidavits before the EC endorsing Sasikala and Mr. Dhinakaran withdrew the same and submitted fresh affidavits reposing faith in Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam.

"The EC has given a good decision". He also communicated that his faction had won the symbol based on the number of cadres and considering the MLAs and MPs on their side.

"Election Commission has given judgement in our favour, we are very happy. Majority of party workers supported us", Palaniswami said. They now have the option of approaching the Supreme Court. The ruling confirms that EC functioned in accordance with the Centre's wish.

"The aggrieved party might go to court still".

For more than one reason, the bypolls to RK Nagar constituency which is likely to be held before Christmas will serve as the acid test for the EPS-OPS duo since this is the first elections that the AIADMK will face after the demise of its charismatic leader J. Jayalalithaa last December. In the following months, forced by political compulsions and in a bid to salvage the party symbol, both the factions chose to patch up by sidelining VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran. The bypoll was later rescinded.

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