Victory for EPS-OPS as EC allots them the ‘two-leaves’ symbol.


Chennai [India], November 23: In a setback to the Sasikala faction, the Election Commission on Thursday allotted the two-leaves (rettai ellai ) symbol to theEdappadi K Palaniswami-O Panneerselvam (EPS-OPS) faction of the AIADMK.

The EC, sources said, has acknowledged the EPS-OPS group as the ‘real’ AIADMK and held that it shall be entitled to use the ‘two-leaves’ poll symbol in all future elections. Following CM Palaniswami’s announcement, celebrations broke out in the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai.


“Our side had more supporters and legislators. We did not win because of the BJP; we did so because our arguments were better. We provided sufficient evidence: 90% of the party cadre were with us,” Mr. Palaniswami said on the sidelines of a Central government function.At an earlier hearing, the EPS-OPS faction had told the poll body that the symbol cannot be allocated to the faction led by Sasikala and Dinakaran as they had been removed from the party.

Sources said the Election Commission has rejected TTV Dhinakaran’s claim saying he “doesn’t enjoy support in the party”. Dhinakaran claims he has the support of 18 lawmakers and many others in the AIADMK.


The Two Leaves

The two leaves symbol has been frozen once earlier — in December 1988 — at the time of another crisis and split in the AIADMK after the death of M G Ramachandran. For the elections of January 1989, the faction led by MGR’s widow Janaki Ramachandran was assigned ‘two doves’, while the Jayalalithaa group got ‘rooster’. After the DMK won the elections and Jaya became leader of the opposition, however, in February of that year, the factions came together again, and the ADMK got back its ‘two leaves’.

Subburaman Thirunavukkarasar, an AICC secretary who was with the ADMK’s Jaya faction in the late 1980s said, “Besides the fact that voters were familiar with it, what was unique about the rettai ellai or two leaves symbol,was the ease with which it could be depicted with just a couple of fingers.”

With Amma no more and the party lacking a prominent leader, “it badly needs at least the symbol to keep it going” said Thirunavukkarasar.