The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to respond to ousted All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dinakaran’s plea regarding the name and symbol for his faction of the party, PTI reported.
Dinakaran had asked to be allowed to continue using the pressure cooker symbol for his faction of the party until the row over the two-leaves symbol is settled.
Justice Rekha Palli also asked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam – whose faction of the AIADMK currently uses the ‘two-leaves’ symbol – for their response on the issue.
In December 2017, Dinakaran had moved the court after the election panel awarded the party’s two-leaves symbol to the faction led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. Dinakaran asked the court if his faction could be allowed to use a hat symbol to file nomination papers for the RK Nagar bye-elections in Chennai later in December.
However, the party faction led by Palaniswami, argued that only the returning officer can decide if the Dinakaran faction can be given a symbol.
Fight over the symbol
Two factions of the AIADMK, one led by the chief minister and the other by Dinakaran and his aunt VK Sasikala, have been fighting over the party symbol since Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016.
The row was intensified by the bye-elections to RK Nagar seat, which lay vacant after its MLA, Jayalalithaas death. The bye-polls were originally scheduled for March 2017, but was delayed and finally held in December. Dinakaran won the bye-poll in December 2017.
However, before the bye-election in March, the Election Commission froze 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.