The Supreme Court (SC) issued notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a plea filed by TTV Dhinakaran seeking the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to be allotted for his party. The ECI is bound to file a response in the SC by March 25.
The case was heard on Friday in the apex court after the Madras high court in February, upheld the ECI’s decision to allot the ‘AIADMK’ name and the ‘two leaves’ symbol to the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led faction. Reports state that after this order, TTV Dhinakaran and VK Sasikala urged the ECI to not allot the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to anybody else for the next 15 days so that they can file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The ECI had also agreed not to allot the symbol for any other party for 15 days.
The issue is seen as a battle for the legacy of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa since the symbol is historically associated with both Jayalalithaa and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran. Soon after the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, the AIADMK split into two factions -- one led by VK Sasikala, the long-time aide of Jayalalithaa and another faction led by the then-Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. Edappadi K Palaniswami was a part of the VK Sasikala faction back then. In 2017, both the factions approached the ECI, claiming right over the ‘two leaves’ symbol. By that time, Edappadi Palaniswami’s faction and O Panneerselvam’s faction had merged, ousting VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran. Thus the battle for the legacy continued between Edappadi Palaniswami and TTV Dhinakaran.
Meanwhile, TTV Dhinakaran formed a new political party named Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and contested in the RK Nagar bye-elections, a seat which fell vacant due to the death of Jayalalithaa. He had contested under the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol then as the ECI had not ruled on the matter. In that election, TTV Dhinakaran won by a huge margin, defeating senior AIADMK leader Madhusudanan.