Why OPS chose the 'electric pole' and Sasikala the 'hat'
The two factions of the AIADMK led by party's interim general secretary Sasikala Natarajan and former chief minister O Panneerselvam will contest the R K Nagar bypoll under new symbols. In the fight for Jayalalithaa's constituency and legacy, her party's symbol, the 'two leaves', has no place thanks to the rival camps in the AIADMK. The Election Commission on Thursday allotted 'electric pole' to Panneerselvam's camp and 'hat' to Sasikala's camp to contest the polls but is the absence of the 'two leaves' symbol going to cost both factions dearly? Why did the factions pick the symbols that they did?
A generation of AIADMK supporters has come to associate the party with the 'two leaves' symbol. While the split camps of the party already face a challenge of divided votes, the compulsion to contest on different symbols comes as an even bigger challenge.
OPS camp gets Two leaves symbol's lookalike
With the 'electric pole' symbol that looks similar to the 'two leaves' symbol of the AIADMK, senior leader from the Panneerselvam camp E Madhusudhanan hopes that he is able to convince the voter to choose the symbol that bears the closest resemblance to the mother party symbol's. He was also the first to begin campaigning in the R K Nagar constituency. Most online polls by media outlets, individuals alike have yielded favourable results to Madhusudhanan in comparison to TTV Dinakaran. Madhusudhanan is also heavily backed by the cadres.
Madhusudhanan is a known face in the R K Nagar constituency. He has been elected from the constituency previously just as his brother P K Sekhar Babu. The presidium chairman of the AIADMK is a force to reckon with in the bypoll with the massive popularity he enjoys among the voters.
'Hat' for Sasikala's camp, what is the MGR link?
Sasikala Natarajan's camp was a house of confusion on Thursday morning. While they first accepted the auto rickshaw symbol from the Election Commission, their plans changed after Panneerselvam's camp was allotted the 'electric pole' symbol that resembled the two leaves symbol. They soon sought a change and were allotted the 'hat'.
Most political observers believe that this was an attempt by the Sasikala camp to strike up an association with party founder M G Ramachandran's hat that he has donned time and again in his films. MGR's iconic hat, the Sasikala camp hopes, will help them strike a chord with the voters. While money and muscle power are their strengths, the palpable anger among the people of R K Nagar against Sasikala is the real challenge.
Dinakaran has been an elected representative of the party but his ouster from the party by Jayalalithaa is fresh in the memory of many. Even if the voters forget, the OPS camp is ensuring that the fact doesn't fade from memories. The lack of the 'two leaves' symbol is a huge setback for Dinakaran, who is already fighting a perception battle ahead of the bypoll. Dinakaran is yet to even set foot in the constituency to campaign.
The infighting in the AIADMK has led the party to lose its symbol and cadre will it now extend to the loss of Jayalalithaa's constituency is the question.