What might come as a setback for V Sasikala, who is now lodged in a Bengaluru prison, the Election Commission of India (ECI) declared that the 'two-leaves' party symbol belonged to the E Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvam faction and not the VK Sasikala-TTV Dinakaran camp.
On March 16 this year the faction led by OPS had approached the EC, challenging the appointment of Sasikala as party general secretary and seeking a direction to allot the two-leaves symbol to itself.
This is being viewed as a big victory for the team headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and a major setback for expelled party leaders V K Sasikala and T T V Dhinakaran. EC was determined to freeze the two leaves symbol. The EC has ruled in the favour of the OPS-EPS faction.
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In September, a Madurai bench of the Madras high court directed the EC to decide by 31 October which faction would get the "two leaves" symbol.
According to sources, the Election Commission has decided that the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam merged faction deserves the party symbol. He said the Election Commission's decision was good and fair.
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.
Following Sasikala's arrest in disproportionate assets case earlier this year, she had appointed her nephew Dinakaran as the lead of their faction.
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This happened when Palaniswami was with the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction, who later in August, joined hands with Panneerselvam after deserting Sasikala and her clan. They may not enjoy too much goodwill with the man on the street but Sasikala knows a thing or two about the psyche of the AIADMK party worker.
Dinakaran said they would fight legally and "victory will be ours... party cadres and people are with us".
Panneerselvam was made the party coordinator and Palaniswamy took charge as the joint coordinator respectively.
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