A day after the Election Commission announced the freezing of AIADMK's two leaves symbol, Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has expressed disappointment over the decision and said they will fight for the symbol in the court. TTV Dhinakaran of the Sasikala faction too disagreed with the order and said they will go to the court.
The Election Commission's decision followed a hearing on Wednesday, in which both the Sasikala faction and OPS camp presented their arguments. While the former CM staked claim to the two leaves symbol on the grounds that they had the support of a majority of the party cadre, Sasikala's faction claimed that most of the AIADMK MLAs were on its side. The Commission, on hearing both parties, stated that it was not in a position to give any final decision in the short time available and therefore chose to allow neither groups to use the symbol.
The ECI’s decision could prove to be a big blow for both factions ahead of the RK Nagar polls, which is being seen as a battle for Jayalalithaa's legacy. Freezing the two leaves symbol is likely to hurt the chances of TTV Dhinakaran, who is Sasikala's candidate, and E Madhusudhanan, the veteran leader fielded by OPS. In a statement released to the media, O Panneerselvam said, "In spite of having kept strong arguments and evidences in front of the EC, we are disappointed by the results. We will continue to raise voice to get back the symbol."
TTV Dhinakaran, who will be representing the Sasikala faction in the polls too said that they will opt for the legal route to settle this matter. Speaking to the media following the EC's decision, Dhinakaran said he remains the candidate for the RK Nagar bye-elections and will file his nominations on Thursday. He also said, "This is only an interim order and not a final one. We will approach the Supreme Court over the issue. We have experienced this in the past as well. We will win and get back the two leaves symbol. We are confident."
However, speaking to the media following the EC's decision, Dhinakaran said he remains the candidate for the RK Nagar bye-elections and will file his nominations at 11am on Thursday. He also said, "This is only an interim order and not a final one. We will approach the Supreme Court over the issue. We have seen an experience like this in the past as well. We will win and get back the two leaves symbol. We are confident."
The Election Commission is also expected to pass orders on the legality of Sasikala's appointment as AIADMK General Secretary. OPS had challenged her appointment stating that the General Council had nominated her rather than the party's primary members. The former CM also termed her appointment invalid, arguing that the party's by-laws mandate that to contest for the post of General Secretary, a person needed to be a primary member for five years.