Talks for merger between the two AIADMK factions in Tamil Nadu appeared to have hit a roadblock with the former chief minister Panneerselvam’s camp laying down conditions. Hardening his stance, Panneerselvam on Thursday demanded that the faction led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami formally expel AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran besides about 30 other members of their family from the party.
He also demanded CBI probe into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death.
A top leader of the OPS camp, KP Munusamy said the first demand was getting Sasikala and Dhinakaran's resignation and later their formal expulsion along with 30 other members of their family.
Panneerselvam also wanted withdrawal of affidavits submitted to the Election Commission declaring Sasikala and Dhinakaran as party general secretary and deputy general secretary, respectively.
Incidentally, the initial response from the Palaniswami faction called AIADMK (Amma) was soft and said that they have no conditions for starting unity talks.
“We impose no conditions. We are ready to hold talks with OPS faction on merger,” a senior leader of EPS camp, R Vaithilingam said adding, “Let’s all work together to retrieve the Two-Leaf symbol.”
However, the E Palaniswami-led faction on said that OPS should first take its complaint regarding symbol issue back.
“Their camp went to EC first on the symbol issue, let them take back their complaint first,” Vaithilingam told the media in Chennai.
Panneerselvam also wanted the state government to recommend a CBI probe to go into the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year. Menwhile, Vaithilingam said the state government would “abide by court direction” on an investigation into the death.
Only if such conditions are met, can there be a scope for talks to pave the way for merger, Munusamy of OPS, after a five-hour-long meeting at Panneerselvam’s home in Chennai on Thursday said.
In addition to ousting, cadres should be asked to have no truck with Dinakaran, Munusamy said and added that only if this was done, they would regard it as a full victory.
Panneerselvam had said yesterday that the ruling faction's decision to dump its chief and her nephew was the “first victory in our dharam yudh (crusade).”
In an indication that patch-up could be a Herculean task, he went on saying that only Panneerselvam had the support of people and cadres and the rival camp was “afraid” that the majority of MLAs only favoured Panneerselvam for the Chief Minister's post.
He also dubbed Chief Minister Palaniswami as a nominee of jailed leader Sasikala.
Menwhile, AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam of the Palaniswami camp rejected Munusamy’s allegation on the events leading to Dhinakaran's ouster.
“There is no drama. We compelled him (Dhinakaran) to step aside and he did it happily,” Vaithilingam said.
He added that EPS camp does not have any conditions for talks,adding, they would “happily” sit for negotiations considering party’s welfare.
Respecting the sentiments of 1.5 crore party workers, to redeem the lost ‘Two Leaves’ party symbol and give good governance for the rest of four and a half years, we will take all (required) stepsR Vaithilingam, Senior AIADMK leader of EPS camp
Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam said the party’s welfare must be the priority and not “someone’s personal whims and fancies.”