With the Supreme Court clearing the decks for the final hearing in the Two Leaves symbol case, the AIADMK faction headed by Chief Minister E. Palaniswami pleaded with the Election Commission on Friday for immediate lifting of the freeze on the symbol and name giving them to his group, saying the party has buried the hatchet and was united.
After a hearing that lasted over two hours, the three-member Commission headed by A.K. Joti adjourned the hearing to October 13 when the T.T.V. Dinakaran faction will submit its arguments.
Appearing before the Commission, lawyers Mukul Rohatgi and C.S. Vaidyanathan argued that 95 per cent of the party, including 116 of the 133 MLAs, 42 of the 50 MPs and over 2,000 general council members, were with the ruling AIADMK and they were the rightful claimants for the name and symbol.
Rohatgi later told reporters that they explained to the Commission that all the party members have buried the hatchet and the only discordant note was by Dinakaran.
"He (Dinakaran) claims to have only 18 MLAs who are now disqualified. He wanted to have the matter adjourned so that the freezing of symbol continues. We requested the Commission that the symbol must be de-frozen. It is in the interest of the party. The entire party stands united under the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister," he said.
The ruling faction also contended that the rivals leader Sasikala was already in jail convicted of corruption and her nephew Dinakaran was facing an inquiry in several other cases.
Counsel for Dinakaran's faction Vijay Hansaria urged the Commission to first take up their plea for cross examination of those who had given affidavits supporting their claim and later went back to give documents in favour of the ruling faction.
"Initially there was objection that they have filed thousands of pages of affidavit which are at variance with earlier affidavits. So we should be given opportunity for cross examination because as per our information, many of these affidavits have been filed under coercion, under threat, they are fraudulent and even fabricated," he said.
He said that the Chief Minister's counsel admitted that the affidavits were at variance.
"They are shying away from producing them or allowing us to produce them to show under what influence they got their affidavits changed. And the Commission has not concluded the hearing. They heard us, they heard them and they would again hear us next Friday on October 14.
"We will again press in the next hearing that we should be given an opportunity to show that this affidavits which were subsequently filed are all fabricated and manufactured," Hansaria said.
Dinakaran's faction maintained that the Commission has still not given a decision on its plea of October 3 for cross examination and that the case cannot proceed before that.
Another counsel for the faction, Raja Sendhoorpandi recalled the Supreme Court observations on Friday that the Commission will do its duty fairly in accordance with the rules.
The Commission commenced the hearing after the Supreme Court refused to give more time sought by the Dinakaran faction for submitting its arguments in the Commission. However, the Supreme Court extended the time by which the Commission should conclude the hearing to November 10 instead of October 31 fixed by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan withdrew his earlier affidavits that he had given during the sparring between Palaniswami and Panneerselvam.
J. Jayalalithha's niece Deepa Jayakumar also withdrew her claim over the party's Two Leaves symbol.
Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam was present during the hearing.