The Hat vs The Lamppost. EC freezes Twin Leaves Symbol of AIADMK. Dinakaran throws Hat in the ring. OPS banks on Lamppost to light path.


RK Nagar Bypoll without Twin Leaves Symbol of AIADMK

The RK Nagar bypoll to elect an MLA to replace the late Selvi Jayalalithaa is slated for the 12th of April.  The iconic Twin Leaves symbol of the AIADMK is no more a party to elections. The Election Commission has frozen the AIADMK name and the Twin Leaves symbols. Both the OPS (OP Panneerselvam) camp and the Sasikala faction represented by her nephew TTV Dinakaran had claimed the symbol. Hence the EC had to take a tough call.

TTV Dinakaran throws Hat into the ring

TTV Dinakaran who has received much negative press along with his aunt, Sasikala, has chosen the ‘Hat’ symbol for contesting the bypoll. The choice seems somehwhat poignant since the shenanigans of Sasikala and her family over the past few months has been, over the top, to put it mildly. It is an action that is also symbolic of this ‘fledgling political’ family’s ambitions for the state’s ‘crown’.

OPS chooses the Lamppost

In a move which is likewise in keeping with the down to earth image he has cultivated over the past few months, OPS has chosen the Lamppost symbol. One of his key allies in the past few weeks has been Mr Pandiarajan. Mr Pandiarajan, founder MaFoi and ex-Education Minister of Tamil Nadu, chose not to take the easy route of being a Sasikala factiion member. His experience and expertise as a self made entrepreneur will no doubt help OPS.

Whether OPS Team’s nominee for the byelection, Mr Madhusudhanan, himself a veteren in the AIADMK is able to post a victory is difficult to predict. If one goes by the public image and sympathy generated for OPS, this should ideally have been a easy enough victory. But there are also rumours of money exchanging hands. One assumes this is to negate the bad press created by ‘corruption/ flouting of ethics/propriety’ in the first place. An ‘undivided’ DMK is also not going to be easy to wish away. 

The Lamppost Vs The Hat – a perspective

No symbol could be more far removed from the Lamp than the Hat especially in India’s context. Farmers in some countries do use straw hats to protect themselves from the sun. But hats in general are not a common part of Indian attire. Even the well heeled in India use it on very rare occasions. The middle class Indian who uses it could be working in stage or TV shows. We sometimes see it used as part of ‘tourist paraphernalia‘. 

The choice of the ubiquitous lamppost Vs the vestigeal Hat triggers a chain of thought. The former is a poor citizen’s need. Many poor students even in today’s times seek a quiet road with lamplight to keep up on their scholastic pursuits. The homes they live in may not have sufficient electricity or even an environment to concentrate on studies. A well lit road is also a developmental priority as it increases safety and represents the smooth functioning of an adminsitrative set-up.

Any guesses, which one India and its citizens need?

Related Reading

Twin Leaves Frozen by EC



  1. There is never a dull moment in TN politics these days… It is only a matter of time before the people of TN decide – either the hat gets blown away by a puff of air, or the lamppost gets dirtied by a passing dog!