EC allots 'two leaves' symbol to ruling Palaniswami-Pannerselvam faction

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On allegations that the judgement was awarded in their favour due to proximity with BJP, Palaniswami said, "Our side had more supporters and legislators". We submitted affidavits to prove that a majority of party cadres are with us.

Sources said that the EC has acknowledged the EPS-OPS group as the "real" AIADMK and held that it shall be entitled to use the "two-leaves" poll symbol in all future elections.

The EC in its order said, "The petitioners group led by E. Madhusudhanan, O. Panneerselvam and S. Semmalai, and also supported presently by the impleading applicant E.K. Palaniswami, the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, enjoys support of majority members in the legislative and organisational wings". They now have the option of approaching the Supreme Court. "The ruling confirms that EC functioned in accordance with the Centre's wish...the Centre's hand can be seen, Centre's intervention is there".

He alleged that the EC acted in a partisan manner and according to the Centre's wish while deciding the row over the two-leaves party symbol.

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"Without considering this, the Commission was "keen" on blocking the symbol".

EC had frozen the AIADMK party name and its symbol after the Rival factions then led by Sasikala and Panneerselvam had staked claim. They ousted Sasikala and Dhinakaran and declared their merger. In its order on Wednesday, the commission said its interim order freezing the symbol was withdrawn and rescinded, and it will no longer be operative.

Earlier on Wednesday, a close associate of middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar was arrested in connection with a bribery case with regard to allocation of poll symbol by the Election Commission to an AIADMK faction.

Later, the Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions merged, annulled the appointment of Sasikala as the General Secretary and struck down the appointments made by her before she went to jail for corruption. The order is a setback to deposed party leader VK Sasikala, who is now serving a four-year sentence in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case, and her nephew and sidelined deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran.

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