AIADMK's Amma camp optimistic on merger talks
Amid continuing stalemate in merger talks between the two AIADMK groups, leaders of Chief Minister K Palaniswami-led Amma faction on Monday expressed optimism that the parleys would start.
Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani said "for sure we have to unite," and to facilitate that "we are ready to hold talks."
Recalling the statement of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that her party would go on to work for the people even after her lifetime, he said it was the wish of all the party workers that the two-leaves symbol should be retrieved by both factions coming together.
"A panel led by R Vaithilingam has been set up and we are ready for talks," he said.
Without naming party General Secretary V K Sasikala and AIADMK (Amma) faction leader T T V Dhinakaran, he said, "We have kept them away and are functioning under the leadership of our Chief Minister Palaniswami."
Assembly Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman said, "For sure both the factions will come together, Amma's regime will continue to function successfully."
He said his party will not allow the DMK to "come back in the reckoning again," and added that the main Opposition party was the "common enemy" of the people.
"Cadres are expecting (merger) talks like you all do, and it will happen and conclude cordially," Pollachi MP C Mahendran told reporters.
The ruling AIADMK had suffered a vertical split after the death of party General Secretary J Jayalalithaa in December last, following which her close aide Sasikala was appointed as party chief.
However in February this year, former Chief Minister Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala, alleging that he was forced to make way for her to become the chief minister.
Subsequently, the AIADMK suffered a split, with some MPs and MLAs joining the Panneerselvam camp even as Chief Minister Palaniswami, a Sasikala loyalist, survived a confidence vote in the state Assembly in February.
Sasikala is serving a jail term in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case in Bengaluru.
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