Chennai: The merger talks between the two factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra (AIADMK) suffered a setback on Thursday with former chief minister O. Panneerselvam’s camp setting stiff preconditions to begin discussions.
The Panneerselvam faction demanded withdrawal of the affidavits filed with the Election Commission that mentioned V.K. Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran as general secretary and deputy general secretary of the party, respectively.
“A formal statement must be issued on their expulsion from the party," said former minister and senior AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction leader K.P. Munusamy. “All 30 members of the Sasikala family should be kept away from party affairs and an official statement should be issued," he added.
AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) is the name given to the faction of the party led by Panneerselvam while the other goes by the name AIADMK (Amma).
The other demand of the Panneerselvam camp is a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the death of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.
Munusamy claimed that the talks would kick off only after the demands are met.
These demands from the former chief minister’s camp come after comments by senior AIADMK (Amma) leader and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambidurai that Edappadi Palaniswami will continue as the chief minister.
Though Munusamy insisted that his faction never demanded the chief minister’s post, he said that the cadres wanted to have Panneerselvam back as chief minister. He claimed that the Palaniswami government was being controlled and influenced by Sasikala’s family.
“The ouster of Dinakaran was just a drama and the family is still calling the shots," he added. Munusamy lashed out at Thambidurai and D. Jayakumar, Tamil Nadu’s minister for fisheries and finance. Jayakumar had earlier denied that Sasikala and her family members had been sidelined because of pressure from Panneerselvam.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha member R. Vaithilingam, who belongs to the AIADMK (Amma) faction, said that a committee has been formed to initiate talks with the Panneerselvam camp and added that the AIADMK (Amma) faction was ready to hold discussions without any preconditions.
Last month, the Election Commission had frozen the ‘two leaves’ symbol of the AIADMK ahead of the 12 April R.K. Nagar assembly seat by-poll, necessitated by Jayalalithaa’s death.