After party supremo J Jayalalithaa’s death on Dec 5, 2016, the AIADMK had split into two factions. The group led by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami had joined hands to oust Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party.
The EC allotted the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to the group led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam on the ground that they enjoyed the support of the majority of members in the legislative and organisational wings. Dhinakaran and Sasikala had then moved the Delhi High Court.
Earlier that year, both factions of the party — then led by Sasikala-Dhinakaran-EPS and OPS — had staked claim to the AIADMK’s iconic two-leaves election symbol, leading the EC to freeze the symbol.
Before 2017, the two-leaves symbol had been frozen once earlier — in Dec 1988 — at the time of another crisis and split in the AIADMK after the death of M G Ramachandran. For the elections of Jan 1989, the faction led by MGR’s widow Janaki Ramachandran was assigned two doves while the Jayalalithaa group had got the rooster.
With the dates of the Lok Sabha elections now released, the two factions are keen to get the popular symbol.