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The bitter feud in the AIADMK reached the doorsteps of the Election Commission Thursday as Edappadi K Palaniswami was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The rival camp of O Panneerselvam asked the commission to declare null and void the appointment of V K Sasikala as interim AIADMK general secretary. Sources said the delegation comprising 12 MPs led by Rajya Sabha member V Maitreyan challenged Sasikala’s elevation as party chief, arguing that her appointment was in violation of AIADMK rules and regulations. In that context. They are learnt to have informally broached the topic of the Sasikala faction retaining the “two leaves” election symbol of the party. But they did not claim the symbol. Sources said the EC will look into the issue only if they lay claim to the symbol.
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The delegation told Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi that rules and regulations of the AIADMK state that the “general secretary shall by elected by primary members of all party units of Tamil Nadu and members of the party in other states like Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Andaman Islands”. Sasikala was elected as AIADMK general secretary on December 29 by the party general council and not by the primary members, they pointed out. “There is no such thing as interim general secretary elected only by the council members,” a delegation member told The Indian Express. The OPS camp said the Election Commission has assured it will look into their complaint.
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Besides, they argued that since Sasikala’s appointment as AIADMK interim general secretary itself was in violation of rules and regulations, her decisions to sack several leaders, including MPs, from the primary membership of the party and re-induction of T T V Dinakaran and his appointment as deputy general secretary too were invalid. They argued that party rules specify that even those contesting for posts of office bearers “should have been members of the party for five years without any break”. It is not clear whether that rule will apply to the general secretary. Former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had expelled Sasikala from the party in 2011 and re-inducted her on March 31, 2012.