The Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld the order of the Election Commission allotting AIADMK’s Two Leaves symbol to the faction led by Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam (EPS-OPS faction).
Dismissing an appeal by leaders of the other faction, TTV Dinakaran and V K Sasikala, the court said there was no infirmity in the EC order. The judgment was delivered by a division bench of Justices GS Sistani and Sangita Dhindra Sehgal.
It is yet another blow to breakaway AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran, nephew of jailed former Jayalalitha aide Sasikala. He is now heading a new outfit called Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam with symbol pressure cooker pending finality on the symbol issue
Ironically, he is now the only MLA, having won a by-election with the support of the present Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami who owed his position to Sasikala.
After the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha on Dec 5, 2016, the AIADMK split into two factions, one led by present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, the other was led by Chief Minister Palaniswami. The two later joined hands to oust Sasikala and Dhinakaran from the party.
On Nov 23, 2017, the Election Commission allotted the Two Leaves symbol to the EPS-OPS faction on the ground that it enjoyed the support of the majority of members in the legislative and organisational wings.
Aggrieved, Dinakaran and Sasikala moved the Delhi High Court. Tthe Supreme Court in March 2018, directed the then Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to constitute a division bench to adjudicate the dispute.
The bench on Thursday dismissed their appeals, giving the merged factions of OPS and EPS the right to use the AIADMK name, flag and symbol.
After the two factions came together, Dinakaran engineered revolt in the party against them and Speaker S Dhanapal disqualified 18 of his legislators under the anti-defection law. The Madras HiGH Court also uphold his order, saying it cannot go into merits so long he had followed principles of natural justice and given enough opportunity to the rebels to present their case.
Now that he has lost the symbol case also, the last hope for Dinakaran is the appeal pending before the Supreme court for a direction to Assembly Speaker to action on a complaint to disqualify O Pannerselvam and ten of his supporting MLAs who voted against Edappadi when he sought a confidence in the Assembly in February 2017.
The Speaker is sitting on the complaint and the high court has said it can come into the picture only if he acts, but cannot direct him to act.