AIADMK's battle for symbol has got a new twist as jailed leader Sasikala petitioned with the Election Commission, alleging that chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy CM O Panneerselvam had submitted affidavits that were forged and fabricated. She also termed them as large-scale fabrication of documents. She further demanded appropriate legal action, including prosecution.
The EPS-OPS opposition, however, termed it as a delaying tactic and opposed the cross examination. The commission adjourned the hearing to October 30.
On September 29, the EPS-OPS faction had submitted the poll panel close to 1,877 affidavits from their general council members, ministers, MLAs and MPs. In her affidavit, Sasikala claimed that close to 325 affidavits provided by the opposition were forged and not signed by the same person.
Submitting names of three persons, she further alleged that they were forced to sign the documents. Furthermore, a sample scrutiny revealed that 78 stamp papers were purchased in March April and therefore their validity was susceptible. The scrutiny further showed that stamp papers of 44 affidavits did not bear the name of the deponents.
Claiming that she and Dhinakaran have clear support on the party symbol, Sasikala said, "The petitioners (OPS, E Madhusudanan, S Semmalai and impleading party (EPS) are trying to play fraud on the commission, having realized that the respondents (she and Dhinakaran) have the clear support of rank and file of the party."
It is to be noted that when a stamp paper is purchased in Tamil Nadu, the name of the executant is mentioned on the face of the stamp paper. Meanwhile, the united faction of the opposition said, "By adopting such pressure tactics, they are trying to get their illegal deeds passed on, without being tested on the touch stone of rule of law and fair hearing as well as on the touch stone of rules of evidence."
The united factions also said that the Sasikala camp was using this tactic to delay the hearing, thus freezing the symbol. In the light of this, fisheries minister D Jayakumar argued that such tactic be ignored and the symbol be given on the basis of substantial majority as was done in the past.
According to the New Indian Express, after hearing both the parties for more than 3 hours, the EC posted the next hearing for October 30. As per the Supreme Court's directions, the Commission has to give its ruling by November 10.
What the opposition says
The ruling faction argued that 1,877 general council members of the party who participated in the meeting had signed the affidavits and the entire process was videographed.
Moreover, since Sasikala was not appointed as per constitution of the party, therefore her appointment of TTV Dhinakaran would also not hold good. Counsel C S Vaidyanathan, representing the ruling faction of AIADMK further argued that Sasikala was re-admitted into the party by the late CM Jayalalithaa, only on the condition that she would not involve in the affairs of the party. Furthermore, all affidavits were filed with the supporting documents such as Aadhaar card, voter ID card and driving license.