Resembling “two leaves” symbol of AIADMK

The Election Commission’s advice has been sought as to whether a structure, resembling the “two leaves” symbol of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), at the entrance of the MGR memorial on the Marina will have to be draped and logo of mini buses masked, Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said on Wednesday.

He said the authorities had been directed to ensure that government offices or facilities would not display images associated with any political party or leader. This was a sequel to the enforcement of the model code of conduct with the announcement of the schedule for Lok Sabha elections.

Applying the rule, “Amma Unavagam,” budget canteens being run by 10 municipal corporations in the State, should not display the image of Chief Minister and the AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa. Besides, the rule would hold good for water bottles of the Amma mineral water brand too. “We have given them a few days to carry out our instruction,” the CEO said.

To another question whether the use of the term “Amma” could be retained in the canteens or the water brand as it could be construed as referring to the Chief Minister, Mr Praveen Kumar said the matter had also been taken up with the Commission. There was also a view that the term per se was generic in nature. However, he said the payment of social security pension could go on as it came under the category of “continuous schemes.”

To a question how the rule would be enforced in the case of houses built under the State government’s solar-powered green house scheme as the houses had the visual of the Chief Minister on their facade, Mr. Praveen Kumar replied that the houses were now private buildings.

As they were all located in rural areas of the State, the permission had to be taken by the ruling party or its candidates from the house owners concerned for displaying the visual of the Chief Minister.

As regards the status of distribution of various freebies of the State government, enquiries revealed that two-thirds of the proposed quantity of sarees and dhoties of 3.45 crore and around 94 per cent of the quantity of mixies, wet grinders and table fans of 35 lakh had been distributed. As regards the distribution of 12,000 milch cows and six lakh goats/sheep, the targets had been fulfilled.

As per the Lok Sabha elections schedule and the by-election to Alandur Assembly seat released by the Election Commission, filing of nomination papers would begin on March 29, the day on which the elections in the State would be notified. Candidates could submit nominations till April 5. Their papers would be taken up for scrutiny on April 7.

The last date for withdrawal of candidature would be April 9. While polling would take place on April 24, votes would be counted on May 16.