The dates of the R K Nagar by-election have been announced. The seat fell vacant following the death of Jayalalithaa. What is interesting is that the date of elections on December 21 was announced just a day after the Two Leaves symbol verdict was delivered by the Election Commission of India.
There are some murmurs whether this was purely a coincidence or a natural process.
The Two Leaves symbol is extremely crucial for the party. Without the symbol and Jayalalithaa, it is next to impossible to win an election in Tamil Nadu for any faction of the AIADMK.
For either faction of the AIADMK, the symbol is extremely crucial. The people are going to vote for that symbol and not the candidate in the absence of Jayalalithaa.
Sources say that this was not a planned decision to announce the election dates just a day after the EC ruling. The Madras High Court had directed the EC to comply with its order and complete the R K Nagar by-poll before December 31. The Bench had sought to know why the constituency had been lying vacant for nearly a year.
The polls were scheduled to be held much earlier. However, it was countermanded in the wake of allegations of corruption. Had the election gone through at that time, both parties would have had to fight without the Two Leaves symbol. The EC had frozen that symbol as there was a dispute between the two camps in the party. Both parties had been allotted fresh symbols.
The countermanding of the elections would have come as a major relief for both parties in the absence of the two leaves symbol. There was a clear advantage to the DMK at that time. Sources in the EC say that they had time until December 31 as per the order of the Madras HC.
They also said that they wanted the order to be passed before announcing the dates.
Moreover, the R K Nagar by-poll was not the election date they announced. Four more Assembly constituencies in three States - Uttar Pradesh (Sikandra constituency), Arunachal Pradesh (Pakke-Kasang and Likbali) and West Bengal (Sabang) would also be held on the same day, the source pointed out.