The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Election Commission on a petition filed by former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders TTV Dhinakaran and VK Sasikala against the Delhi High Court’s verdict granting the “two-leaves” symbol to the faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, ANI reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna gave the poll panel time until March 25 to respond to the plea, IANS reported.
Dhinakaran’s petition challenged the February 28 judgement of the Delhi High Court, which upheld the Election Commission’s decision to allow the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction to use the “two-leaves” symbol. The High Court had passed the directive on an application by Dhinakaran in his main petition challenging an Election Commission order of November 23, 2017, which had allotted the AIADMK’s “two-leaves” symbol to the opposing group.
Dhinakaran, who founded the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, has sought the pressure cooker symbol for both the Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly bye-elections since he had used it for the December 2017 Assembly bye-election in Chennai’s RK Nagar, which was former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s seat. On February 16, 2018, the Election Commission had told the Delhi High Court that it was opposed to Dhinakaran’s plea because only a recognised political party can be allotted a symbol or name.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the AIADMK, on Friday opposed Dhinakaran and Sasikala’s petition in the Supreme Court and observed that both leaders had already floated new parties. Rohatgi insisted that the “two-leaves” symbol belonged to the party.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Dhinakaran, said his faction should be allowed to use the common symbol, The Hindu reported. “I should be allowed to fight the elections on the common symbol,” he argued.
After the AIADMK divided, the Election Commission had recognised Palaniswami’s group as the real party and allotted it the “two-leaves” symbol. On February 7, a Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi had asked the poll panel to consider allotting a common pressure cooker symbol to Dhinakaran’s party.