The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Monday asked the 18 rebel legislators who had sided with ousted leader TTV Dhinakaran to “kneel” and “apologise” at the memorial of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa before returning to the party, PTI reported.

The party mouthpiece Namathu Amma credited the MLAs’ victory in the 2016 Assembly elections to Jayalalithaa and asked them to “deeply repent” their action of having sided with Dhinakaran.

“You had deserted the temple called AIADMK and joined the AMMK [Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam],” said an article in the vernacular daily. “Whether you went for benefits or unwittingly, this situation has come up because of your veering off the path shown by Amma [Jayalalithaa].”

“Deeply repent [your actions]. Kneel before Amma [at her memorial at Chennai’s Marina Beach] and seek a tearful apology,” it said. “Issue an apology letter to the party and return on time.”

Last week, 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 party’s top leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday extended an olive branch to the rebel legislators. “We invite you with love and affection to again join the massive people’s movement nurtured by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma,” they said in a statement. 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.