Update: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam set terms for merger talks between rival AIADMK factions, one led by him and the other by Chief Minister E Palaniswamy. ” VK Sasikala or her family cannot be in the picture” , he told the media.
“There can be no dialogue with Sasikala’s family in the picture. The party should not be in the hands of one family,” said OPS, accusing the jailed AIADMK chief and her nephew TTV Dinakaran of “making mistake after mistake”.
“There will be talks on a patch-up or merger only if they agree to abide by the principles of MGR (AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran) and Jayalalithaa,” Mr Panneerselvam said.
Chennai: With a series of unsettling developments in the AIADMK party, reconciliation with several MLAs eyeing a patch up with Panneerselvam’s faction. OPS on Monday expressed confidence that Sasikala faction leaders would approach him for merger talks. A bitter struggle on symbol claims warms up.
Hours later, Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai welcomed Panneerselvam’s call. “If he (OPS) comes forward, we will work in unison,” he told reporters at the secretariat, after holding a couple of sessions with chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the latter’s chamber, in an interval of two hours.
“All of us, including Panneerselvam, won in the two-leaves symbol and due to Amma’s campaign. Our aim is to see Amma’s government continue and it needs the support of everyone. We are hopeful of getting it,” the AIADMK leader said, denying any split in the party. “It is just differences of opinion among ourselves,” he said.
Amid speculations that he was going to be made “general secretary” in the event of a merger, Panneerselvam said no one had approached him so far.
“If approached, we are ready to talk and I have confidence that they (leaders) will come (for talks),” he told reporters at the airport here. His remarks come in the wake of revolt by a section of ministers and MLAs against the leadership of T T V Dhinakaran from holding the post, against the backdrop of recent I-T raids in health minister C Vijayabaskar’s residence, and seizure of documents implicating the names of CM and ministers.
A senior minister told The Indian Express that Dinakaran may resign on Tuesday after meeting Sasikala, who is lodged in a Bengaluru jail. Last week, several ministers had reportedly asked Dinakaran to step down, claiming that he was the target of the central agencies, and not the party — the bypoll allegations were based on I-T searches at 35 properties of Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.
T T V Dinakaran, AIADMK deputy general secretary and nephew of jailed party leader V K Sasikala, after Delhi Police registered an FIR against him for allegedly trying to bribe Election Commission officials through a middleman to obtain the party’s two-leaves poll symbol.
With the morale hitting a new low, the MLAs are hoping for a merger in the “interest of the government’s stability.” “Even a charismatic leader like J Jayalalithaa could not succeed when AIADMK split into JJ and Janaki factions after MGR’s death,” Kattumannarkoil MLA N Murugumaran said.