Sasikala faction alleges ‘Conspiracy’ in EC’s decision

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Chennai, March 24: The VK Sasikala faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) sees a conspiracy in the Election Commission freezing the two leaves symbol while the rival O Pannerselvam group has taken it in its stride – expressing just ‘shock’ at the poll eve ‘setback’- and is going about its campaign for the MG Ramachandran (MGR)-Jayalalithaa votes in RK Nagar for the April 12 by-election.

The Election Commission ruled in an interim order on Wednesday that neither group can use the original name and symbol, but said the decision is “purely for the purposes of the current by-election” in RK Nagar assembly constituency.

After the Election Commission froze the symbol and prevented both factions of AIADMK from using the name of the party in the byelection, the party said the setback was just temporary in nature and moved the EC for a new symbol and party name to be allotted to its candidate.

The OPS faction is fielding veteran E Madhusudhanan as its candidate, while VK Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran is the man standing from her camp in the RK Nagar By poll.

The Election Commission on Thursday then granted separate symbols as well as party names to the Sasikala and Panneerselvam factions. While Sasikala camp got the symbol of ‘Hat’, and the party name ‘AIADMK Amma’, OPS camp now owns the ‘Electric pole’ symbol and the name ‘AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’.

AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran, a nephew of VK Sasikala, also supported the claim of his colleagues by declaring on Thursday that “everyone knew” who was behind the Election Commission freezing the symbol.

“Everyone knows who was behind the Election Commission freezing the symbol. Still, we will emerge victorious with the ‘thoppi’ symbol allotted to us,” Dhinakaran said.

His comments were in sharp contrast to his reaction on Wednesday night when he ducked the ‘conspiracy’ question posed by a reporter at a media interaction, saying he did not want to speculate on such a possibility.

AIADMK (Sasikala) spokesman Nanjil Sampath was more vocal in his criticism against the Election Commission by calling the decision one-sided.

“There has been a large conspiracy behind the Election Commission freezing the symbol. We will definitely win the by-election because we have been allotted the ‘thoppi’ symbol, which is easy to popularize among the voters because MG Ramachandran (MGR) had worn ‘thoppi’ in his hit film ‘Anbe Vaa’. This film was made in 1966, a little over 50 years ago,” Sampath said.

However, senior All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (Sasikala) leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai downplayed the Election Commissions’ decision on freezing the symbol by terming it “a temporary arrangement and is not permanent.”

“The Election Commission were not able to take a decision in such a short time because of the voluminous evidence presented by the two sides,” Thambidurai said.