Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Friday formed a seven-member committee for holding merger talks with the rival O. Panneerselvam faction.
The committee is headed by lawmaker R. Vaithiyalingam and includes ministers C. Sreenivasan, K.A. Sengottaiyan and D. Jayakumar among others.
This came a day after the Panneerselvam-group threatened to quit the merger if their demands are not met. The demands were that Sasikala and T.T.V Dinakaran resign from the party and a CBI inquiry into the death of late chief minister Jayalalithaa are not met.
“We demand that an affidavit be submitted by the other camp stating that Sasikala and T.T.V Dinakaran no longer hold party position to the Election Commission. If this is done, we will consider it as first victory to our faction,” said K. P. Munusamy who is a former state minister and AIADMK member.
The OPS camp further alleged that Palanisamy is devising new ways to prevent the merger from taking place.
“Current Chief Minister Palaniswami, who was appointed at the mercy of Sasikala, is not acting as the AIADMK Chief Minister rather he is acting as the Chief Minister of Sasikala and her family,” he said.
In response, the Palaniswami-led group asked the other faction to take back its complaint regarding party symbol.
“Their camp went to EC first on the symbol issue, let them take back their complaint first,” AIADMK MP R. Vaithilingam said.
Regarding the second demand for a probe on Jayalalithaa’s death, Vaithilingam said the demand for the same is under the court’s consideration, adding the government will follow the order.
The talks for a merger gained ground after a FIR was registered against Dinakaran for bribing the Election Commission officials for staking claim of the ‘Two Leaves’ party symbol.
Following this, Sukesh Chandrasekhar, Dinakaran’s alleged middleman was arrested by police for striking a deal of Rs. 50 crore to help the AIADMK faction keep the ‘two leaves’ poll symbol.