High court dismisses Sasikala’s plea staking claim to party symbol

  • The high court upheld an Election Commission (EC) decision to award the symbol to the official faction
  • The move is a major victory for the ruling faction in the fight to be recognized as the “real” AIADMK

Nidheesh M.K.
Updated1 Mar 2019, 12:26 AM IST
Tamil Nadu chief minister E.K. Palaniswami.
Tamil Nadu chief minister E.K. Palaniswami.(Photo: PTI)

Tamil Nadu chief minister E.K. Palaniswami had the last laugh in a fierce battle between factions of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to keep the party’s historic “two leaves” election symbol, with Delhi high court on Thursday dismissing the pleas of the party’s rebel leaders T.T.V. Dhinakaran and V.K. Sasikala to claim the symbol.

The high court upheld an Election Commission (EC) decision to award the symbol to the official faction, which is led by Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O. Panneerselvam. This has left the rebels with little choice, but to approach the Supreme Court.

The move is a major victory for the ruling faction in the fight to be recognized as the “real” AIADMK, as it prepares to battle the rebels as well as the opposition in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In Tamil politics, the “two leaves” symbol is closely associated with the larger-than-life personas of two late AIADMK leaders and former chief ministers, M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa. All splinter groups of AIADMK expect to ride the sympathy wave following the demise of Jayalalithaa, a mass leader who is fondly referred to as “Amma” (mother).

The ruling also comes as a relief for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre. The party formed an alliance with the official faction of AIADMK last week, hoping to cash in on the expected electoral gains of the regional giant, if it fails to win the 272 seats needed for a simple majority in the Lok Sabha polls.

A Delhi high court bench of Justices G.S. Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal Thursday upheld an EC decision of 23 November 2017, which allotted the “two leaves” symbol to the group headed by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. The high court said that none of the arguments by Dhinakaran and Sasikala were sufficient to set aside the poll panel order.

Dhinakaran had recently approached the Supreme Court complaining about the delay in the delivery of the judgement by the high court. However, the apex court said the EC can decide on the matter if the high court does not settle it within four weeks.

The high court also asked the EC not to allot the “pressure cooker” symbol to any party in Tamil Nadu for the next 15 days, which comes as another setback for the Dhinakaran faction.

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First Published:1 Mar 2019, 12:26 AM IST
HomePoliticsNewsHigh court dismisses Sasikala’s plea staking claim to party symbol

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