Tamil Nadu ministers hold emergency meet, hint at merger of two AIADMK factions
Confirming the development, state minister D Jayakumar said that they the leaders discussed Panneerselvam's “statement” on a possible merger.
Chennai: In a late night political drama here on Monday, Tamil Nadu ministers called an emergency meeting to discuss the merger of two AIADMK factions after former chief minister O Panneerselvam flagged a "unity proposal".
At least 25 ministers attended the meeting at AIADMK leader P Thangamani's residence in Chennai, media reports said.
Confirming the development, state minister D Jayakumar said that the leaders discussed Panneerselvam's “statement” on a possible merger.
“OPS has given us a suggestion and we welcome that; we will hold further talks,” Jayakumar told reporters after the meeting.
“All the MLAs want Amma's wish to be fulfilled, Amma wanted AIADMK to stay together,” he said.
However, the EPS faction has denied rumours of Sasikala's resignation as AIADMK general secretary.
It is being reported that some ministers are in favour of a truce with the Panneerselvam camp in order to keep the party united, and they are also not averse to the idea of keeping Sasikala and her deputy TTV Dinakaran away from the party.
Senior AIADMK Amma leader M Thambidurai said the Dinakaran faction was ready to hold talks with the Panneerselvam camp so as to work for the merger of the two factions.
"Those who left due to differences... Let them come, we are ready to talk," he told reporters.
He was replying to a question about rival group leader and former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam earlier in the day expressing confidence about the scope for merger talks.
Stating that all the leaders, including him and Panneerselvam, were elected on the 'two leaves' symbol of AIADMK, he emphasised that it was the collective responsibility of all partymen to continue the regime of 'Amma' (late chief minister Jayalalithaa).
Thambidurai, who earlier called on Chief Minister K Palaniswami at the Secretariat, said, "We will get back the 'two leaves' symbol and to get that we will function unitedly."
The development comes after the Delhi Police earlier in the day booked Dinakaran for attempting to offer a bribe to election commission officials.
The AIADMK (Amma) faction led by VK Sasikala and the rival AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma) led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam are locked in a bitter power tussle following the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.
Sasikala had picked Palaniswami to lead the government.
He won the floor test in February amid strong protests by the opposition parties which were evicted from the legislative assembly during the voice vote.
He got 122 votes in favour but eleven MLAs from the former chief minister camp voted against him.
“The MLAs who voted for Edappadi Palaniswami have betrayed Amma. Dharmam will be restored,” Panneerselvam had said.
(With agency inputs)