EC bars AIADMK factions from using party name and symbol, for now

The Election Commission has barred rival factions of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)?from using the party name and the party's two-leaves symbol for the byelection to the R K Nagar Assembly constituency.

The commission on Wednesday issued an interim order freezing the symbol for the present, ''in order to place both the rival groups on even keel to protect their rights and interests''.

The poll panel ordered that neither of the two groups led by the petitioners E Madhusudhanan, O Panneerselvam and S Semmalai nor the respondents V K Sasikala and T T V Dinakaran should be permitted to use the name of the AIADMK during the byelection.

The EC has asked both the groups to choose names they should be known by during the byelection, but allowed the rival factions to choose names that would show linkage to the AIADMK.

The rival groups would be allotted such different symbols as they may choose from the list of free symbols notified by the commission for the bypoll.

Salman Khurshid, Veerappa Moily, Mohan Parasaran and Aryaman Sundaram argued on behalf of the Sasikala faction.

C S Vaidyanathan and Guru Krishna Kumar argued the Panneerselvam faction's case.

''History has repeated itself. We have come across such experience already. We will take a decision on moving High Court or Supreme Court soon,'' T T V Dinakaran told media persons reacting to the EC's decision to freeze the Two-Leaves symbol.

Dinakaran asserted that he would contest the RK Nagar by-election and win, adding that people in RK Nagar would understand that times are difficult. ''They will vote for me in whatever symbol I contest.''  He said freezing of symbol would not cause any impact on the winning prospects of AIADMK in the by-election.

Senior leader C Ponnaiyan, on the other hand, termed it the first victory for the Panneerselvam camp to protect the party's identity.

''It is a big setback to Sasikala faction, which conspired to take total control of party,'' said Ponnaiyan, asserting that the 15 million party workers would back rebel leader O Panneerselvam as the true leader.