AIADMK poll symbol impasse: Sasikala gets 'hat', OPS gets 'electricity pole'

AIADMK Photograph:( DNA )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 23, 2017, 06.22 AM (IST)

The two factions of the ruling party of India's southern Tamil Nadu state have decided on their election symbols, ending the weeks-long impasse.

While Team VK Sasikala has decided on "hat" as their symbol, Team O Panneerselvam will go with "electricity pole" sign, NDTV reported.

The other tweak is that party chief Sasikala will go by the name of AIADMK Amma and the rival bloc has opted for AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.

The two warring groups were compelled to make the alterations after the Election Commission -- the agency that manages all elections in India -- froze the original party symbol, which is "two leaves".

Both the groups claimed their legitimacy over the "two leaves" symbol before the Election Commission nixed their claims.

Sasikala said her party had the right to use the symbol while Panneerselvam argued Sasikala's election as the AIADMK general secretary was "invalid and illegal".

The changes come days before the bypolls in RK Nagar constituency, the seat lying vacant since the death of Tamil Nadu's then chief minister J Jayalalithaa in December.

Jayalalithaa's death triggered a bitter battle between O Panneerselvam and Sasikala in February, 2017.

O Panneerselvam, who was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu at the time, accused party chief Sasikala of forcing him to step down from the post to pave way for her to head the southern state.

What followed was a litany of accusations flying from both sides, eventually culminating in Panneerselvam and his aides being ousted from the party.

The rivalry has escalated to such levels that both factions have fielded their own candidates in the highly-charged RK Nagar constituency. 

The Panneerselvam camp has put its money on E Madusudanan while Sasikala has gone with AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran. Today (March 23) is the last day to file nominations for the bypolls.

The election will take place on April 12.