The DMK has 'taken a leaf out' of the ruling AIADMK party's book to take a fresh dig into the Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government.
On Monday, the M Karunanidhi-led party slapped a legal notice on chief minister Jayalalithaa and others, charging her government with misusing the official position by propagating her party's symbol -- two leaves -- on a recently launched fleet of public transport buses.
The DMK has also petitioned the Election Commission to de-recognise the AIADMK for violating the model code of conduct ahead of the Yercaud Assemby bypolls to be held on December 4. The seat fell vacant following the death of MLA C Perumal.
The new fleet of small buses in the state kicked up a controversy as the vehicles carry paintings of leaves which "look like the ruling AIADMK's party symbol".
The AIADMK has, however, refuted the charges and said the leaves were printed on the buses to depict greenery and the DMK has raised such an allegation since "it is unable to stand the popularity of the government's initiative".
'Small bus’ service's symbol is similar to ADMK's party symbol ( top left ) says DMK. Photo: Tamilnadu Govt
The DMK's legal wing has served the notices to transport minister Senthil Balaji, chief secretary Sheela Balaakrishnan and managing director of Metropolitan Transport Corporation among others.
It has also urged the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to initiate steps against those named in its complaint under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The complaint stated that the AIADMK with "calculative and scientific motive has painted its two leaves symbol on 50 mini-buses launched on October 23, and also on some 610 other buses".
The action amounted to misuse and abusing the official position as public servant and also a criminal misconduct, it charged.
The complaint, besides urging Jayalalithaa to remove the "advertisements", has also appealed to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to look into the issue.
Earlier, the two archrivals engaged in a war of words in the state Assembly over the depiction of leaves on the recently introduced buses, culminating in the eviction of the opposition party members.
Trouble erupted when municipal administration minister KP Munusamy made some remarks against DMK member EV Velu, a former AIADMK man, resulting in a high-decibel exchange of words between the treasury and DMK benches.
Speaker P Dhanapal announced that none of the remarks made by DMK members will go on record, even as the opposition MLAs demanded that they be allowed to speak.
Suddenly, DMK members S S Sivasankaran, Soundarapandian and Dravida Mani went and squatted before the Speaker's chair, prompting him to ask them to take their seats.
With his repeated pleas going unheeded, Dhanapal summoned the marshals to evict the DMK members. The three MLAs who had squatted before the Speaker were physically removed, while the others were guided out by the marshals.
Later, transport minister K T Senthil Balaji denied the DMK's contention that the leaves on the small buses were representative of the ruling AIADMK's symbol.
According to him, leaves were printed on the buses to depict greenery. "The DMK had raised such an allegation since it has nothing else to complain about and unable to stand the popularity of the government's initiative," he said, adding that more than 1.4 lakh passengers had used the services in the first four days of its launch.