The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday asked the 18 rebel leaders who had sided with ousted leader TTV Dhinakaran to return to the main party, PTI reported.

The statement came days after the Madras High Court upheld the Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker’s disqualification of 18 MLAs for backing Dhinakaran in September 2017. The MLAs have said they will move the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling.

The judgement brought the Assembly’s effective strength down to 214 and the majority mark to 107. With the court’s verdict, there is no current threat to Palaniswami’s government. The government could have collapsed had the court reinstated the MLAs. Political parties in Tamil Nadu, however, have now begun to call for early bye-elections in the 18 seats.

“We invite you with love and affection to again join the massive people’s movement nurtured by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma,” the party’s top leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami said in a statement late on Saturday. Palaniswami is the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, while Panneerselvam is his deputy. They also asked cadres to “understand the reality” of the Madras High Court judgement.

Earlier in the day, however, Palaniswami had told reporters in Coimbatore that the Madras High Court had given a befitting lesson to “betrayers and enemies”.

Without naming Dhinakaran or the 18 rebel leaders, an open letter to AIADMK members claimed some functionaries of the party had decided to travel in an “alternative path as a result of being misled and due to some bitterness”.

Quoting a Tamil proverb that says that love does not fade despite any fights, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam said they were all “children of one mother, bonded by brotherhood and love” and urged all workers to work together ignoring differences so that the party can grow and be able to vanquish its “political rivals”.

“Our only goal is to serve the people,” the statement said. “Since the court ruling helps us achieve our goal, we welcome and celebrate it.”