Wednesday , April 24 2019

Tamil Nadu ministers meet amid talk of merger of rival AIADMK camps

There is speculation about a pact between rival AIADMK camps of Palanisamy and Panneerselvam, in which Sasikala and Dhinakaran would be ousted.

Tamil Nadu Ministers

Chennai: Many senior Tamil Nadu Ministers on Monday night went into a mass here amid sources about coming together of rival AIADMK camps led by TTV Dhinakaran and O Panneerselvam.

The progress came on a day when the Delhi Police booked AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran for apparently trying to bribe an EC official in a failed bid to attain the preferred “two-leaves” party symbol for his group.

Developing from the more than a one-and-half-hour long meeting at the residence of Electricity Minister K Thangamani late tonight, Finance Minister D Jayakumar stated modalities were being worked out to pave the way for the merger of the two groups.

A 10-member team led by CM Palaniswamy is likely to meet O Panneerselvam to hold talks, stated an NDTV report.

Former in the day, O Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu state, had uttered confidence that the TVV Dhinakaran group leaders would approach him for merger talks.

“If come up to, we are ready to sit and talk and I have confidence that leaders will come for talks,” he said reporters at the airport here.

“Given the opinion, modalities to make stronger the party and to run it with unity were discussed,” Jayakumar expressed to reporters, conference them about the meeting which was attended by most of the ministers of E K Palanisamy government.

Prior in the day, gossips swirled about a possible agreement between E K Palanisamy and O Panneerselvam under which both VK Sasikala, the jailed AIADMK general secretary, and TVV Dhinakaran, her nephew and deputy would be exiled.

Off the record reports had it that under the formula E K Palanisamy would continue as Chief Minister while O Panneerselvam would occupy the desired post of AIADMK general secretary, which was held by J Jayalalithaa till her passing away last December. Though, O Panneerselvam had prior in the day expressed to journalists that nobody had approached him with such a proposal so far.

Asked about rumor in political circles that VK Sasikala, who is serving a prison term in connection with a uneven assets case in which Jayalalithaa was also an suspect, was preparing to quit as general secretary, Jayakumar stated, “There is no such thing.”

Law Minister C V Shanmugam termed it as “a lie”. C V Shanmugam stated since  TVV Dhinakaran was in Bengaluru for a meeting with VK Sasikala, the merger concern will be deliberated on his return here.

On O Panneerselvam’s stand that VK Sasikala’s family should not be a part of the party, Jayakumar equivocated a direct answer and stated, “The decision of the last party cadre is the decision of the party and all of us.”

He stated, “We will get the two-leaves party symbol for sure as it is the wish of all the party workers.”

The election symbol is seen as part of Jayalalithaa’s long-term legacy. The EC had frozen the two-leaves symbol after both O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala- TVV Dhinakaran groups staked claim to it ahead of the now cancelled April 12 byelection to RK Nagar assembly constituency.

Jayakumar also stated the submission of affidavits of district-level party workers to the EC in the symbol clash was conversed at the meeting. On the chance of meeting O Panneerselvam to take forward the merger proposal, he stated “For everything there is a time.”

When a reporter pointed out that O Panneerselvam had been challenging a review into the situations surrounding the death of J Jayalalithaa, and if it was to be made a condition for merger, he shot back, asking “Did O Panneerselvam spell out this as a condition?”

Another senior Minister and a heavy weight of the party in the western region, S P Velumani stated “For sure we will be united, and regain the two-leaves symbol.”

“Those who exited (O Panneerselvam and his supporters) are also part of our family. It is like a fight between 2 brothers. Together we will get back the two-leaves symbol,” he stated.

There was allegedly nervousness in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party ever since IT officials raided Health Minister Vijayabaskar’s premises and detained evidence of bribing voters for the bypoll to R K Nagar assembly seat. The poll, scheduled for April 12, was cancelled by the EC on April 9 amongst allegations of extensive enticement and bribing of voters.

TVV Dhinakaran was the candidate of AIADMK (Amma) group for the seat. He was prior in the day booked by the Delhi police after the arrested a suspected middleman who, according to police, was allegedly helping the AIADMK leader to reach out to an anonymous official in the EC in return for a shocking Rs 50 crore.

VK Sasikala had reinducted TVV Dhinakaran, who was barred from the AIADMK party by Jayalalithaa, and chosen him the party’s deputy general secretary just before going on to Bengaluru to serve the leftover of her jail term after the SC upheld her conviction and sentence in February this year.

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