The O Panneerselvam (pictured above) faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday brushed away speculation that the two warring camps in the party would merge and join the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, reported The Indian Express.
“These are just rumours,” said V Maitreyan, a member of the Panneerselvam camp. “Nothing is going to happen before the 2019 polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi may expand his cabinet soon, but AIADMK will not be a part of it.” He added that there was no possibility of a merger between his faction and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami-led faction of the party.
“Beggars cannot be choosers,” an unidentified AIADMK leader said. “Why should the Bharatiya Janata Party want us in government when we support them on every issue.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar had said the talks between both the camps had been taking place continuously. “I hope merger will be very soon,” Jayakumar told NDTV.
The minister also said media reports suggesting that the AIADMK was forging an alliance with the National Democratic Alliance were false. “We follow Jayalalithaa’s footsteps. Only Amma fought for rights of Tamil Nadu, we are following in her path,” he told ANI.
The camp, led by O Panneerselvam, had pulled out of merger talks in June as the demands put forth by them before the ruling camp had not been met with. The OPS camp had demanded the expulsion of AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran from the party, and an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.
Panneerselvam had been petitioning against Sasikala since her rise to the top of the AIADMK. He had formed a breakaway faction after she was appointed the AIADMK general secretary. Sasikala had been set to replace him as chief minister till she was convicted in an illegal assets case in February. However, she appointed Palaniswami the chief minister of Tamil Nadu before surrendering to the police.