AMMK gets ‘pressure cooker’, but MNM loses ‘battery torch’


Kamal Haasan makes light of losing the symbol in T.N.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday allotted the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol to the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) for the forthcoming 2021 Assembly election in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The ‘battery torch’ symbol on which actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) candidates had contested in the last Lok Sabha polls, was allotted to another registered party ‘MGR Makkal Katchi’, in Tamil Nadu. The MNM, however, was given the ‘battery torch’ symbol in Puducherry.

Reacting to the development, Kamal Haasan said in Dindigul, that there was no question of going back or worrying about such issues. He said if there was no ‘torch light’ (as he referred to the symbol), “we will have kalangarai vilakkam (light house).”

However, party functionaries were upset. C. K. Kumaravel, a second line party leader, told The Hindu, “We have worked hard to popularise the ‘battery torch’ symbol for the past two years. It is unfortunate that ECI has allotted us the same symbol in Puducherry while denying it in Tamil Nadu. We will explore legal ways to overcome this challenge.”

ECI Secretary Jaydeep Lahiri communicated the decision to Chief Electoral Officers of the State and the Union Territory.

The Naam Tamilar Katchi has been allotted the ‘gana kisan’ symbol in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

In a tweet, AMMK general secretary T.T.V.Dhinakaran, expressed happiness over the ECI’s decision.

Three years ago, Mr. Dhinakaran won in the byelection to Dr. R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency as an independent, using the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol.

During the Lok Sabha election and the Assembly bypoll in April-May 2019, the Supreme Court, when approached by the Dhinakaran group, in March that year, refused to grant the symbol of ‘pressure cooker’ on the ground that the faction had no exclusive access to the symbol. However, the court directed the ECI to allot any one common or free symbol to the group’s candidates.

The symbol then allotted was “gift box.” The AMMK polled 22.25 lakh votes in 38 Lok Sabha constituencies with a vote share of 5.25% and about 3.19 lakh votes with a vote share of 7.23% in 22 Assembly seats. In November last year, the Commission approved the registration of the AMMK.

The ECI said the common symbols allotted to these parties shall be available for allotment as a free symbol to other candidates in the constituencies where the parties do not field candidates.

(With inputs from Udhav Naig)

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