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23 Nov 2017

EC: Two leaves symbol goes to EPS-OPS led AIADMK

In a setback to AIADMK's Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction, EC has granted the party's two-leaves symbol to the faction led by CM E Palaniswami (EPS) and deputy CM O Panneerselvam (OPS).

EC's decision comes eight months after the symbol was frozen due to AIADMK's in-fighting.

The Sasikala faction still has the option of approaching the SC.

What is the importance of this symbol? Read on!

In context

OPS-EPS led AIADMK gets two leaves symbol
Why was the symbol frozen?


Why was the symbol frozen?

In December'16, after being hospitalized for over a month, Jayalalithaa died due to cardiac arrest.

Close aide Sasikala appointed Panneerselvam as TN CM. However, he resigned soon after to make way for Sasikala.

Panneerselvam staked claim to the two-leaves symbol. Consequently, with two factions vying for the symbol, EC froze it on March 22.

Changing alliances

How did the political equations change?

At the time of the symbol's freezing, CM E Palaniswami was Sasikala's man.

However, later, Dhinakaran faced bribery allegations for influencing EC to give his faction the symbol.

This made Palaniswami re-think his strategy. He approached Panneerselvam for a merger.

After the merger in August, the OPS-EPS faction had filed affidavits before the commission, with signatures of their office-bearers.

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How did the case proceed until now?


How did the case proceed until now?

On March 22, EC ordered that the party name and the two-leaves symbol can't be used by any faction.

After the OPS-EPS merger, there have been over six hearings at the EC where arguments have revolved around the validity of the affidavits submitted by the OPS-EPS camp.

The EC also missed Madras HC's deadline of October 31 and SC's deadline of November 10.


What is the implication of the EC's order?

With the two-leaves symbol, the OPS-EPS led AIADMK gets the stamp of approval for taking forward Jayalalithaa's legacy as the official AIADMK.

Reports indicate that consistent in-fighting within the party had led to an "existential crisis."

In such a scenario, the two-leaves symbol resonates with the voters and in the absence of a prominent leader "keeps the party going."

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