The Election Commission’s hearing on the AIADMK symbol feud on Monday remained inconclusive with the rival factions accusing each other of attempts to delay a decision in the matter.
The poll panel has now set November 1 as the next date of hearing the two sides.
The former attorney general and counsel for E K Palaniswami-O Panneerselvam camp, Mukul Rohatgi, told reporters that rival Sasikala Natrajan’s nephew T T V Dhinakaran’s counsel deliberately tried to drag the proceedings.
“They are going on filing new applications. It is a desperate attempt to delay the case, so that the judgement is delayed. Their arguments show that they are not in favour of the party but in favour of freezing the symbol. We want the hearing to be closed as soon as possible so that the symbol is defrozen and aim the party to flourish,” he claimed.
Dhinakaran’s counsel and senior advocates Vijay Hansaria alleged the EPS-OPS faction wants to avoid cross examination of affidavits.
“…that is why Dhinakaran’s camp is accused of unnecessarily delaying the process. If there is cross examination, they will be caught and prosecuted, that is why they are avoiding cross examination,” he alleged.
Another Dhinakaran counsel Raja Senthoor Pandian said ten members of the party who appeared before the EC on Monday alleged that they were threatened to sign the affidavits.
“They have also named two ministers who have threatened.
Even when such allegations were made, the EPS and OPS side did not try to counter it,” he said.
When asked about the November 10 deadline set by the Supreme Court for the EC to settle the case, Pandian said the apex court had used the words “may” and “preferably” to direct the EC to end the dispute.
“It has not forced the EC to issue a judgement. So there is no mandate for the EC to finish the issue before November 10,” he said.
In an interim order in March this year, the commission had barred the then rivals–Palaniswami and Panneerselvam– from using the party’s name or its ‘two leaves’ symbol in the R K Nagar Assembly bypoll necessitated due to the demise of sitting lawmaker J Jayalalithaa.
The bypoll, for which the AIADMK had fielded Dhinakaran, was later cancelled due to alleged bribing of voters and is yet to take place.
Prior to the merger, the two factions had staked claim over the symbol. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami was then a Sasikala loyalist.
The poll panel had, however, frozen the symbol, pending a decision on their pleas.