T T V Dhinakaran, AIADMK (Amma) faction leader, on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that he needed a temporary name and symbol for his faction till his petition laying claim to the ‘two-leaves’ symbol is decided and submitted three names for his faction. His counsel argued before Justice Rekha Palli that his faction was already has a political party which must have a symbol and he cannot be forced to register as a new party.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Dhinakaran, said the Election Commission (EC) should be directed to allot it the symbol of ‘pressure cooker’ for the local body elections likely to be held soon, or any other poll during the pendency of his petition. He said Dhinakaran has also won the bye-elections with the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol with a margin of over 40,000 votes.
The names suggested by him for his faction are All India Amma Anna Dhravidar Munnetra Kazhagam, MGR Amma Dravidar Munnetra Kazhagam and MGR Amma Dhravidar Kazhagam. His counsel said the faction has to fight an election and they cannot register as a new party, otherwise they would have to give up all claims to the original party.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, also representing Dhinakaran, argued that nobody was being affected by the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol and by not giving them a symbol, they were being denied their fundamental right. The court fixed the matter for tomorrow to hearing the EC counsel’s arguments. It had earlier issued notice to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, to whose group the EC had allotted the ‘two-leaves’ symbol, seeking their stand on the matter.
Dhinakaran’s application for using a suitable name and symbol was moved in his main petition challenging the poll panel’s November 23, 2017 decision holding the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction as the real AIADMK and allotting them the ‘two-leaves’ symbol. His counsel had said a suitable name and symbol was being sought only till the pendency of the main petition, as otherwise EC might declare it as a separate party.
The EC’s lawyer had said the poll panel had nothing to do with the local body elections, when the court had asked whether it had any objection to allotting the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to Dhinakaran’s faction. On December 4 last year, the high court had declined to grant any interim relief to V K Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction of the AIADMK by dismissing their plea to use the ‘hat’ symbol in the by-poll to the R K Nagar assembly constituency. The court had left the decision to the Returning Officer who had allotted the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to Dhinakaran for the by-poll held on December 21, 2017.
The hat symbol was given to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group by the EC in March 2017 after it froze the use of the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to which the group led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had also laid claim. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction had at the same time been granted the ‘electric pole’ symbol. However, on November 23, 2017, the poll panel had ruled in favour of Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction by allotting the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to them.
The symbol issue has been lingering since April in the aftermath of the announcement of by-poll to Radha Krishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu following the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December 2016. Earlier, rival factions led by Sasikala and Panneerselvam had staked claim over the symbol. Palaniswami was then in the Sasikala camp. Later, a large number of legislators led by Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala and announced the merger of the two factions.