Rebel AIADMK leader O Pannerselvam today said the new symbol his faction will use in the by-polls in Chennai's Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar, represents former Tamil Nadu chief ministers MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, the news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai (PT) reported.
The two iconic politicians - and erstwhile matinee idols - were co-stars in several Kollywood films, and the founder and former General Secretary of the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), respectively.
RK Nagar was Jayalalithaa's constituency. On April 12, its denizens will elect a new MLA to the Assembly seat left vacant after the 'Puratchi Thalaivi's' ('revolutionary leader') death in December.
Former Chief Minister Panneerselvam's camp, now named 'AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi', was given a new symbol after the AIADMK's 'twin leaf' symbol was frozen by the Election Commission on Wednesday. Both 'Team OPS' and a rival AIADMK group led by former Jayalalithaa aide VK Sasikala had claimed the right to use the image.
The AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi's symbol has been described as 'an electric pole' in several media reports, but more closely resembles a tall street light with two divergent branches tipped with bulbs.
That the image seems to mirror the 'twin leaf' symbol wasn't lost on former minister and Pannerselvam loyalist Ma Foi K Pandiarajan, who said 'Team OPS' is "delighted" with it.
In fact, Panneerselvam today expressed hope the symbol would remind people of the 'Rettai Ilai,' and that this would win his camp their votes, the news channel Thanthi TV reported.
The veteran leader was scheduled to address a campaign rally at 7 pm, but the event has been cancelled after one of his supporters committed suicide in RK Nagar, the channel tweeted.
E.C. FUNCTIONING WELL, SAYS PANNEERSELVAM
In an interview with Puthiya Thalaimurai, Pannerselvam today said the Election Commission is functioning well ahead of the RK Nagar polls.
That remark comes just a day after Chennai's Police Commissioner S George was transferred out of the city, after the leading Opposition Party in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), asked the Election Commission to do just that.
The DMK feared that the Commissioner might act in a way that favoured the AIADMK, whose Sasikala-led faction runs the Tamil Nadu government.
FINAL LIST OF CANDIDATES
A final list of candidates for the by-election will be revealed tomorrow, PT reported.
Nominations filed by Madhusudhanan, as well as those submitted by the Sasikala camp's TTV Dinakaran, the DMK's Maruthu Ganesh, the BJP's Gangai Amaran, and Jayalalitha's niece Deepa Jayakumar, were accepted earlier this week.
(With inputs from Pramod Madhav)