The Election Commission of India has allotted the 'gift pack' symbol to TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK, days after directions from the Supreme Court. The ‘gift pack’ will be the common poll symbol for the party’s contestants in the upcoming Lok Sabha and state bye-elections. Since the AMMK is not a registered political party, the apex court noted that candidates who emerge successful at the ballot would be considered independents.
In a statement issued by the EC on Wednesday, the autonomous electoral body said that the gift pack symbol was picked by the party “...to state that on the basis of the choice of the symbol proposed by the petitioner, the Commission has decided to allot the common symbol ‘Gift Pack’ to all the candidates contesting on behalf of the petitioner group as mentioned in the Order of the hon’ble Supreme Court for the current General Elections to the House of the People, 2019 in all 39 Parliamentary Constituencies in the State of Tamil Nadu and 1(One) Parliamentary constituency in the Union Territory of Puducherry, and Bye-election to the 18 Assembly Constituencies in the State of Tamil Nadu and 1 Assembly Constituency of Puducherry,”(sic) it read.
The confusion over a party symbol arose soon after the Delhi High Court ruling in February which dismissed Dhinakaran’s claim to the two-leaves symbol, stating that it belonged to the ruling AIADMK in the state. Following this, Dhinakaran petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking the pressure cooker symbol for his outfit in the upcoming elections. However, the EC responded in court stating that several others may have asked for it in different constituencies.
Despite launching his party in March last year, RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran had not registered AMMK with the Election Commission yet since this would mean giving up claim over the two leaves symbol. In order to ensure a level playing field, the apex court directed the EC to allot one of the common symbols available with the EC.