A tale of two leaves
It may be a strange coincidence that Deepa Patrick, the niece of J Jayalalithaa, named her faction as the MAD Party. Though the abbreviation stands for MGR Amma Deepa Party, the present political scenario in AIADMK points to a 'Mutually Assured Destruction' in the fight between the two factions of the party over the issue of the 'Two Leaves' – the poll symbol of the ruling AIADMK. The battle has finally reached the Supreme Court, which has asked the Election Commission to decide the claims of the factions by November 10. However, it is not the first time that the "Two Leaves" symbol has been frozen by the EC. It had earlier happened in 1988 after the death of the AIADMK founder and then CM MG Ramachandran when MGR's wife VN Janaki Ammal and J Jayalalithaa had locked their horns over it.
The EC had frozen the 'Two Leaves' symbol in the 1989 assembly elections, but after facing a humiliating defeat from DMK, Janaki withdrew her claim and the poll symbol was given to Jayalalithaa. But this time, no one knows what decision the EC would take. But, if the 'Two Leaves' symbol is permanently frozen; it would not only cut the AIADMK into several pieces but also benefit the main opposition the DMK, in any case, as the lower strata of the Tamil society still vote on the basis of symbols. The tug-of-war between the two AIADMK factions began just after the death of CM Jayalalithaa on December 5, last year. The political cat-fight apart, in March this year, O Panneerselvam had petitioned the EC to allot the AIADMK's symbol to his faction. The next day, on behalf of Sasikala, a petition was filed with Dinakaran as a co-petitioner asking that the symbol be allotted to them because they were the real AIADMK.
But, the EC refused to entertain the claims of either petitioner. Dinakaran even went to the Madras High Court. But, when he failed to hear a verdict in his favour, he approached the Supreme Court which told the EC to conclude the matter before November 10, disposing of his petition. Nonetheless, while the AIADMK factions are fighting each other to the finishing line, a desperate DMK is out to make a giant kill employing all the tricks up its sleeve to hasten the process of disintegration of the AIADMK. Tamil Nadu seems to be a living example of Marx's quote: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."