Tamil politics

AIADMK ministers hold meeting, announce official talks to merge factions

Finance Minister D Jayakumar welcomes O Panneerselvam’s offer to bury the hatchet.

Senior ministers of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in Tamil Nadu on Monday openly declared that they were working towards merging all factions and reuniting the party under one banner.

In fast-paced developments on Monday evening, at least 15 ministers went into a huddle at Electricity Minister Thangamani’s residence in Chennai. The meeting came hours after former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam offered to initiate talks to merge all factions into one and rescue the “two leaves” symbol of the AIADMK, currently under dispute before the Election Commission of India.

The party split into two factions after Panneerselvam rebelled against AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala in January.

Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme Court in a disproportionate assets case in February, following which her nephew TTV Dinakaran took over as the AIADMK’s deputy general secretary. On Monday, the Delhi police registered an FIR against Dinakaran for allegedly trying to bribe officials in the Election Commission to get the “two leaves” symbol allotted to his faction. The commission froze the symbol in March after both factions staked claim.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said the discussion was about how to function in case the rebel faction led by Panneerselvam reunites with the parent party. “The aim is to retrieve the “two leaves” symbol and continue the work of our leader Jayalalithaa,” he said.

Asked about rumours that Sasikala had resigned from the general secretary post, Jayakumar said he was not aware of any such development. He also dismissed reports that Panneerselvam had made several demands for the merger to take place and said senior leaders, including Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy, appreciated Panneerselvam’s offer to initiate talks and bury the hatchet.

Meanwhile, AIADMK officials told Scroll.in that Dinakaran is likely to meet Sasikala at the prison in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

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