The battle for supremacy in the AIADMK reached the Election Commission's doors on Tuesday with the Dhinakaran faction claiming to be the real party and filing a caveat before the Election Commission that it should be heard before the poll body takes a decision on any plea to be submitted by the faction consisting of O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswamy after their recent merger.
Not to be outdone, leaders of the merged group of factions headed by Panneerselvam and Palaniswamy met in Delhi to approach the Commission, likely on Wednesday, seeking recognition as the real AIADMK and the ‘two leaves’ symbol for it.
Tamil Nadu ministers D Jayakumar, CV Shanmugham, Thangamani and former MP Manoj Pandian met at the residence of party MP V Maitreyan and discussed the strategy about moving the Commission.
The day started with Karnataka AIADMK unit chief Pugazhendi and Namakkal District Secretary Anbazhagan, a former MP, filing a petition before the Commission in the wake of media reports that the rival faction leaders would file petitions withdrawing earlier affidavits by their respective factions that led to the freezing of the "Two Leaves" symbol earlier this year.
As respondents in the case, General Secretary VK Sasikala and Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran belonging to the AIADMK (Amma) faction should be heard in the case, Pugazhendi told reporters after filing the petition.
He said their faction has also updated the Commission with the latest set of office bearers in the party and also the removal of some of them.
Following the death of J. Jayalalithaa, rival factions had approached the Commission seeking the ‘two leaves’ symbol for contesting the RK Nagar Assembly by-election in April which was countermanded following allegations of use of money power to influence the outcome. In the by-election, the Panneerselvam faction was recognised as AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) and the Dhinakaran faction was recognised as AIADMK (Amma). Dhinakaran contested the election as an AIADMK (Amma) candidate.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, the two factions came together last week in a bid to isolate Sasikala and Dhinakaran after declaring that their nomination to the posts of General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary was invalid.
The OPs and EPS groups are likely to approach the Commission shortly seeking withdrawal of their earlier affidavits claiming that they have merged and that unity has been registered in the party. They are likely to ask for defreezing of the ‘two leaves’ symbol and allotting it to the merged factions.
Maitreyan told reporters that the government headed by Palaniswamy was stable and the rivals were making baseless claims.
Jayakumar said the party would be run in accordance with the four resolutions passed at the office bearers meeting on Monday and there was no change in it.
Meanwhile, the DMK has sought time with President Ram Nath Kovind for urging him to ensure that a floor test is held immediately in Tamil Nadu for the Palaniswamy government to prove its majority.
He said MPs of DMK, Congress, Left parties and Muslim League would be part of the delegation to call on the President.
On Sunday, the DMK and its allies petitioned the Tamil Nadu Governor CH. Vidyasagar Rao and demanded an immediate floor test in the state Assembly.
Dhinakaran faction leader Thangatamilselvan told reporters after a meeting with Dhinakaran that his group had the solid support of 25 MLAs and 10 "sleeper cell" MLAs and soon the number would touch 40.
He said if the rival groups approach the Commission for withdrawal of the affidavits his group would move courts against it.