AIADMK poll symbol row: Ball is now in EC's court

Image result for AIADMK poll symbol row

Chennai, Sep 29: The Election Commission's deadline to the warring factions of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK party for the submission of documents in support of their claim for the "two leaves" belectoral symbol ended on Friday. According to a leader in the ruling faction led by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam, additional documents have been filed with the poll panel. It also remains to be seen how the Election Commission decides on the ruling faction amending the party byelaws by resolutions passed at the General Council meeting to abolish the post of General Secretary and also take away the rights of primary members to elect the General Secretary, a party leader not wanting to be quoted told IANS. The Election Commission on October 6 will hear the competing claims of the two factions in AIADMK to the party's frozen poll symbol. The poll body had earlier informed the warring parties - E.Madhusudanan, V.K.Sasikala, O.Panneerselvam and T.T.V. Dinakaran - of the date of next hearing citing the September 15 order of Madras High Court's Madurai Bench asking the poll panel to dispose of the case relating to the symbol before October 31. The poll body had told the warring parties to submit any fresh submissions latest by September 29. "lf any individual affidavits of support are being filed, such affidavits should be confined to the members of the Legislative wing (Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly) and the apex level representative bodies in the organisational wing of the Party, i.e. the General Council and Central Executive committee," the Election Commission said in its notice. "You are also directed to submit the list of General council Members and Central Executive Committee Members of the party as on December 5, 2016," it said, adding that copies of the lists should also be served on the other group. As per AIADMK constitution, the party General Secretary is elected directly by the primary members. The party has around 1.5 crore members. As per the amendment to the party rules passed at the General Council meeting held recently, nobody will be elected or nominated to the post of General Secretary, which was held by party supremo and late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The General Council also introduced a rule whereby the party's Coordinator and Joint Coordinator would be elected by the General Council and they would hold the post for five years. As per the amended rule, a primary member who had the power to elect the topmost leader of the party can now elect only the local level office bearers. Meanwhile it is learnt former parliamentarian K.C.Palaniswamy is being persuaded by the ruling faction to withdraw his petition filed with Election Commission, challenging the election of the jailed V.K. Sasikala as the party General Secretary. He had petitioned the Election Commission to declare election of Sasikala as General Secretary as void citing the party rule that only primary members can vote and elect a person to that post and not the party's General Council. Contacted by IANS, Palaniswamy declined to comment. Sasikala was elected to the top party post last December at the General Council meeting after Jayalalithaa's death.  Subsequently she was elected as AIADMK's leader of the legislature party resulting in the resignation of Panneerselvam as Chief Minister and his revolt. However Sasikala was jailed in a corruption case as per apex court orders and Palaniswami was elected as the Chief Minister. Initially there were to factions in AIADMK one led by Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran and the other by Panneerselvam. Later the number of factions became three with Palaniswami leading one sidelining Sasikala-Dinakaran combine. Sometime back Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions joined hands and the former became Deputy Chief Minister and the Coordinator of AIADMK. Palaniswami became the Joint Coordinator - the two new posts created at the General Council meeting.