The merger between the two factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam appears to have hit another roadblock as the O Panneerselvam camp on Monday accused leaders of the other side of making “loose statements”, NDTV reported. “The Edappadi Palaniswami camp should exercise restraint after agreeing to talks...They are confused...leaders are making loose statements,” AIADMK MLA and OPS supporter KP Munusamy said.
Former Chief Minister Panneerselvam’s camp has reiterated that until their conditions are met, there will be no headway in merger talks. The group has asked for the resignations of AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala and her nephew and AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran. The factions has also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.
“Unless these two conditions are fulfilled, there can be no talks,” Munusamy added, further alleging that an article in AIADMK’s official newspaper on Monday had implied that Sasikala was still controlling the party. “This proves our doubt that the party is still in their [Sasikala and Dinakaran’s] hands,” he said.
On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar had offered to resign from the post to create a vacancy for leaders of the other faction. “If someone has to sacrifice for the welfare of the party, let it be me,” he had said.
Moreover, senior AIADMK leader R Vaithilingam on Monday accused the OPS camp of looking for reasons to stall merger talks. He said the government was ready to set up either an inquiry commission or order a CBI investigation into Jayalalithaa’s death on a court order. He also accused the camp of making contradictory statements. “We are ready to sit happily with them, without laying any preconditions, and discuss concrete ways to strengthen the party,” he said, according to The Times of India.
Vaithilingam also claimed that the Palaniswami faction had sent messages to the other side to try to schedule talks, but that they had received no response. “We have contacted [OPS supporter] Manoj Pandian, who said they had set conditions and were not ready to come [before their demands are met],” he alleged.
Last week, Jayakumar had announced that Sasikala and Dinakaran will be kept away from party affairs. But there has been no confirmation that they have resigned from the AIADMK, so far. Besides their expulsion, the Panneerselvam camp had also demanded the removal of some 30 other members of Sasikala’s family from the party.
The decision follows months of political turmoil in Tamil Nadu, which began after Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5. Panneerselvam has been fighting against Sasikala’s rapid rise to the top ranks of the AIADMK. She was set to take over as chief minister till the Supreme Court convicted her in a disproportionate assets case, after which Palaniswami took over.