AIADMK merger talks stalled as rival factions wrangle AIADMK merger talks stalled as rival factions wrangle
The two factions of the AIADMK were on Monday squabbling and blaming each other for the delay in merger talks getting off the ground, days after they formed committees for carrying forward the negotiations.
The O Panneerselvam camp has refused to abandon its key demands of expulsion of V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran from the party and institution of a CBI probe into late chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death before talks could start.
"If these demands are met, there will be no other condition from us," K P Munusamy, a close Panneerselvam aide, said.
The AIADMK (Amma) camp led by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami had revolted against jailed party general secretary Sasikala and her deputy Dhinakaran last Tuesday, and announced their ouster.
A day later, Dhinakaran, who is being questioned by the Delhi police for the last three days for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official for the undivided AIADMK's 'two leaves' election symbol, had said he was "stepping aside". However, the two have not been officially expelled from the party.
Panneerselvam's AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction said there was "confusion" in the Palaniswami camp.
Munusamy objected to publication of an article in AIADMK mouthpiece 'Dr Namathu MGR' which, he claimed, said the party was with Sasikala and Dhinakaran.
Alleging that Sasikala was capable of "destroying" the party, Munusamy said the Pannerselvam faction would not compromise on the stand for her expulsion. The Panaliswami camp, however, insisted there was no confusion on their side over merger talks and that it had already extended an invitation to the Panneerselvam faction.
Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam, who heads the panel formed by the Palaniswami camp for talks, said "We have sent messages to them, including to Munusamy, but they have not contacted us. We have contacted Manoj Pandian (of OPS camp) who said they have set conditions and are not ready to come."
On the demands of the opposite camp, he said Panneerselvam was the Tamil Nadu chief minister for 60 days after Jayalalithaa's death and he could have recommended a CBI probe into the leader's death. "Now there is a court case in this regard. If court says so, we are ready (to recommend a CBI probe)," he said.
Further, the Election Commission is looking at the issue of Sasikala's elevation as the party chief, Vaithilingam said, adding, "we will ensure unity in the party on the basis of what it (EC) says."