The Election Commission on Thursday restored the two-leaves symbol to the faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakagam led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.
The faction has the support of the majority of members, both in the organisational and legislature wings of the party, the Election Commission said in its 83-page order.
Earlier, the chief minister had called the Election Commission’s decision good and fair. “They have given this decision based on the number of cadres, members of parliament and members of legislative assembly who are on our side,” he told reporters in Chennai. “We submitted affidavits to prove that a majority of party cadres are with us. We are happy.”
TTV Dinakaran’s camp alleged that the other group had forged signatures, and they will file a complaint with the Election Commission, News18 reported.
The decision ends a months-long fight for the symbol between the two factions that emerged after former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016 – the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam group and the one led by ousted member VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran.
In March, before a bye-election to Tamil Nadu’s RK Nagar constituency, the Election Commission had frozen the party’s two-leaves symbol, and issued new ones to the warring factions of the party – at that time led by Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. Later, a large group of legislators led by Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala – who is now serving four years in jail in a corruption case – and announced the merger of the two factions.
Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran were removed from all party posts, resulting in the two warring factions being led by Dinakaran and Palaniswami.