RK Nagar bypolls: Acid test for EPS-OPS

AIADMK party symbol

The Tamil Nadu CM expressed his happiness over the EC's order and celebrations broke out at the party's headquarters, with workers bursting crackers and distributing candies.

With this decision, it was evident that Edappadi Palaniswami has the support of 111 MLAs and Government has no majority, he said. The ruling means that the rival group led by VK Sasikala, the jailed former aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran can no longer use the name AIADMK and its hugely popular poll symbol of "Two Leaves". We will approach the Supreme Court against its order... "EC has acted as per the wishes of the central govt".

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

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The two-leaves symbol was frozen when Mr Panneerselvam who had the support of only about a dozen each MLAs and MPs moved the EC seeking it (in March ahead of the RK Nagar bypoll which was cancelled subsequently), he said referring to the interim order of the commission.

The OPS faction challenged Sasikala's appointment saying she did not fulfil the requirement of continuous/uninterrupted membership of the party for five years.

In September, a Madurai bench of the Madras high court directed the EC to decide by 31 October which faction would get the "two leaves" symbol.

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The EC also noted that at least 1,741 members of the AIADMK's general council submitted support to the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction, while the Sasikala-Dinakaran team could submit defect-free affidavits of support from only 145 members of the apex body of the party. In the following months, forced by political compulsions and in a bid to salvage the party symbol, both the factions chose to patch up by sidelining VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran.

Although the warring factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam merged (the so-called EPS and OPS factions), a fresh crisis erupted after Dhinakaran rebelled against the merged group.

Earlier, Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and other ministers distributed candies to party workers and journalists at the party office.

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