‘Conspiracy’, claims Sasikala faction after EC freezes AIADMK symbol
The Sasikala faction of the AIADMK sees a conspiracy in the Election Commission freezing the two leaves symbol while the rival OPS group has taken it in its stride – expressing just ‘shock’ at the poll eve ‘setback’- and is going about its campaign for the MGR-Jayalalithaa votes in RK Nagar for the April 12 byelection.
After the EC froze the symbol and prevented both factions from using the name of the AIADMK in the byelection, the party said the setback was just temporary in nature and moved the poll body for a new symbol and party name to be allotted to its candidate.
The EC on Thursday then granted separate symbols as well as party names to the Sasikala and OPS factions. While Sasikala camp got the symbol of ‘Hat’, and the party name AIADMK Amma, Panneerselvam camp now owns the ‘Electric pole’ symbol and the name AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.
Party deputy general secretary T. T. V. Dhinakaran, nephew of V. K. Sasikala, also supported the claim of his colleagues by declaring on Thursday that “everyone knew” who was behind the EC freezing the symbol.
“Everyone knows who was behind the EC freezing the symbol. Still we will emerge victorious with the ‘thoppi’ symbol allotted to us,” Mr Dhinakaran said.
His comments were in sharp contrast to his reaction on Wednesday night when he ducked the ‘conspiracy’ question posed by a reporter at a media interaction, saying he did not want to speculate on such a possibility.
AIADMK (Sasikala) spokesman Nanjil Sampath was more vocal in his criticism against the Election Commission by calling the decision one-sided.
“There has been a large conspiracy behind the EC freezing the symbol. We will definitely win the by-election because we have been allotted the ‘thoppi’ symbol, which is easy to popularize among the voters because MGR had worn ‘thoppi’ in his hit film ‘Anbe Vaa’. This film was made in 1966, a little over 50 years ago,” Mr Sampath said.
However, senior AIADMK (Sasikala) leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai downplayed the EC’s decision on freezing the symbol by terming it “a temporary arrangement and is not permanent.”
“They (EC) were not able to take a decision in such a short time because of the voluminous evidence presented by the two sides,” Mr Thambidurai said.