OPS Superimposes AIADMK ‘Leaves’ over His Symbol, EC Issues Notice

While releasing his party manifesto, O Panneerselvam said the new symbol represented MGR and J Jayalalithaa.

The Election Commission on Friday issued a show cause notice to the O Panneerselvam faction for allegedly peddling the 'electric pole' symbol as the AIADMK's original symbol of 'two leaves'.

Earlier when it was OPS camp’s turn to release the party’s manifesto, Panneerselvam’s AIADMK Puratchi Thalavi Amma, which was granted the symbol of an electric pole, superimposed the AIADMK symbol of two leaves on its new symbol, saying that it represented former Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa.

The EC had frozen AIADMK’s leaves symbol following a tussle between Sasikala’s camp and Paneerselvam’s faction, but Paneerselvam was far from giving up his hopes. On Thursday, during the release of his party manifesto, he said that his new symbol would stand as a reminder that his party will win.

While bypolls don’t usually witness political parties creating constituency specific manifestos, RK Nagar is different, as AIADMK (Puratchi Thalavi Amma) and Sasikala’s AIADMK (Amma) battle it out for late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s legacy.

Promising better infrastructure and development in the North Chennai constituency, Team OPS covers 16 concerns of the people of RK Nagar.

The green booklet begins with an ode to the former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and enlists her ‘achievements’ in her 300 days as MLA of the area. It then goes on to talk about education at both the school and college level.

The party claims that J Jayalalithaa has laid the foundation by establishing a number of educational institutes in the area, but promises to ensure that there is an emphasis on literacy. The OPS faction, whose candidate is E Madhusudhanan, promises to work with students and parents to ensure that there is an emphasis on the need for education.

The manifesto also addresses the drinking water problem, an issue that residents of the area have been incessantly complaining about. The water that residents receive in their taps at home are allegedly contaminated by sewage. The OPS faction acknowledges the problem and promises clean drinking water to the residents.

Other than this, the faction has offered uninterrupted electricity, well-laid roads, fair price shops and libraries in the area. These promises come a day after AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi) leader O Panneerselvam called TTV Dhinakaran's poll promises amusing, and said that they were an example for his ignorance.

The Sasikala faction has promised to construct 57,000 houses at RK Nagar. In response to this, OPS asked how they will get the funding to build these homes. “We will make promises that shall be fulfilled, and his manifesto shows only his ignorance, “ said OPS, who is Tamil Nadu’s former finance minister.

Dhinakaran had further promised that a multi super speciality hospital at Tondiarpet, besides 10 mobile hospitals in RK Nagar constituency would be set up, if he were voted to power.

"A gymnasium and free training centres for developing soft skills will also be established in the constituency. Job fairs for unemployed youth will be conducted regularly. A new fish market will be set up. We will also continue those projects as announced by Amma," Dhinakaran had told reporters.

In response to these promises, OPS claimed that if TTV Dhinakaran wins, Edapadi K Palaniswami will be removed from the CM's post. He further added that he would even welcome him if he wishes to join team OPS. He termed the fight between the two factions as “Dharma Yudh” and compared it to the colossal Mahabharata. He then claimed that after elections, Team OPS would become the real AIADMK.

(This piece has been edited and was originally published on The News Minute)