AIADMK asks Election Commission to lift freeze on party symbol

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AIADMK asks Election Commission to lift freeze on party symbol
AIADMK asks Election Commission to lift freeze on party symbol

New Delhi : With the Supreme Court clearing the decks for the final hearing in the Two Leaves symbol case, an AIADMK faction headed by Chief Minister E. Palaniswami pleaded with the Election Commission on Friday for immediate lifting of the freeze on the party symbol and giving it to his group, saying the entire party office bearers and elected officials were with it.

After a hearing that lasted over 150 minutes, 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 told the Commission that Dinakaran had the support of just 18 MLAs who have been disqualified and they wanted the hearing to be deferred because they want the freeze on the Two Leaves symbol to continue.

He said that the party was united under the Chief Minister and his deputy O. Paneerselvam and that the freeze on the symbol and name should be lifted in favour of their faction.

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 Ansaria 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.

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 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.