'Two leaves' symbol allotted to EPS-OPS faction

AIADMK's 'two leaves' symbol goes to EPS-OPS faction; another blow to TTV Dhinakaran

It's a big victory for Palaniswami faction and a blow to team Sasikala as EC allots Two Leaves' symbol to unified AIADMK.

The Election Commission's (EC's) decision ended a long-running political dispute over ownership of the symbol, frozen in March after the southern state's ruling party fell apart in a factional fight following the death of long-time chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.

"Waiting for the hard copy of the order but have got information from the EC orally that the two leaves symbol has been allotted to us", Maitreyan said.

The poll panel noted that the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction of the AIADMK could prove it had the support of the party's 34 members in the Lok Sabha, eight in the Rajya Sabha, 111 in the Tamil Nadu Assembly and four in the Puducherry Assembly. There can be "no better example to show that the EC did not act neutrally in the matter", the nephew of sacked interim party general secretary Sasikala Natarajan charged.

He alleged that the EC acted in a partisan manner and according to the Centre's wish while deciding the row over the two-leaves party symbol.

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In the 83-page order, the Commission said the merged group enjoys the support of the majority of the members in the organizational and legislature wings of the party. In the following months, forced by political compulsions and in a bid to salvage the party symbol, both the factions made a decision to patch up by sidelining VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran.

The Commission felt that the group led by Madhusudhanan was recognised in terms of para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, as the AIADMK.

Palaniswami was with Sasikala and Dinakaran then and replaced Panneerselvam as the chief minister after Sasikala's ascent to the helm of the party.

Earlier this month, both the warring factions of the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had submitted to the Election Commission their final arguments in writing laying their claim to the party's symbol. Following this, Mr Palaniswami and his followers revolted against Ms Sasikala and announced the merger of the two factions.

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