AIADMK merger: Petition over 'Two-leaves' symbol to be withdrawn from EC
With a merger almost certain between the Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palanisamy camps of the AIADMK, all eyes will be on the Election Commission of India. A dispute over AIADMK party symbol and the name now lies with the Election Commission. While leaders from both factions of the AIADMK are keen on withdrawing the petition, it may not be as easy as it seems.
Lakhs of affidavits supporting either camp of the AIADMK have been filed so far with the Election Commission. Leaders of both Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palanisamy camp are keen on withdrawing the petition and declare that all is well. However, experts believe that the process will not be simple, given the fact that TTV Dinakaran will also now stake claim to the party symbol.
"The merger ends all differences. We will make a joint representation and ask the Election Commission to vacate the stay. We will have the majority once the merger is finalised," said C Ponnaiyan, the spokesperson in the Panneerselvam camp. Leaders of the Palanisamy camp too are hopeful that making a joint representation to the election commission will put an end to the AIADMK symbol row.
Constitutional experts, however, believe that the process is not that simple. A fresh petition will have to be filed with the Election Commission showing the support that the party has from its members. The party is required to have a 2/3rds majority to stake claim to the symbol that is currently frozen. Once a fresh application is made, the Election Commission will complete the hearing and pass its order defreezing the symbol. All affidavits filed so far will have to be withdrawn or deemed null since the dispute did not exist anymore. TTV Dinakaran and Sasikala's supporters may file more affidavits. The commission will have to consider all angles before the final hearing.
Symbol row and Sasikala Natarajan's appointment
The AIADMK's party by-laws state that executive committee takes certain decisions based on needs and situations which will be ratified by the party's general council. The bylaws have no provision to appoint a deputy general secretary, a position that TTV Dinakaran currently holds.
The original dispute before the EC is over the appointment of Sasikala Natarajan as the General Secretary. Panneerselvam had filed a petition challenging her appointment. The second dispute was over party symbol and name. Once the factions merge, the party symbol row may reach a conclusive end soon but the election commission will have to rule in favour of or against Sasikala Natarajan's appointment.
If a fresh petition is filed, the Election commission could take into cognizance the opinion of elected representatives instead of the entire party cadre that runs into lakhs. If the United AIADMK has a simple majority of elected representatives backing it, the Election Commission is likely to rule in its favour.
In February this year, Panneerselvam rebelled against Sasikala Natarajan and opposed her elevation as the General Secretary. The issue was raised with the Election Commission with both factions staking claim to the AIADMK party name and symbol. The election commission had frozen the symbol and the name after which the factions came to be known as AIADMK Amma and AIADMK Puratchi Talaivi Amma.