The talks for merger between the two factions in AIADMK hit a roadblock on Thursday with Panneerselvam camp putting conditions, including sacking of AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala and T T V Dhinakaran besides about 30 other members of their family from the party and a CBI probe into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death.
Hardening his stand, Panneerselvam also asked for withdrawal of affidavits submitted to the Election Commission declaring Sasikala and Dhinakaran as party general secretary and deputy general secretary, respectively. K P Munusamy, a top leader of Panneerselvam camp, said only if such conditions are met, can there be a scope for talks to pave the way for merger.
Munusamy suspected “foul play” even in the Palaniswamy camp’s decision of April 18 to remove Sasikala and Dhinakaran, a key demand of Panneerselvam. “Only your (Palaniswami camp) conscience knows how you did that… Only you (Palaniswami camp) know the reason, (for sidelining Dhinakaran.) We are getting information that since he (Dhinakaran) was entangled in several cases, in order to free him, Sasikala’s family has used them (Palaniswami camp),” he claimed.
Stating that only under such circumstances Dhinakaran has been kept away, Munusamy said in keeping with AIADMK party practice, a party notification should be issued on Dhinakaran and Sasikala family’s expulsion. Cadres should be asked to have no truck with them, he said and added that only if this was done, they would regard it as a full victory.
In an indication that patch-up could be a herculean task, he said only Panneerselvam had the support of people and cadres and the rival camp was “afraid” that the majority of MLAs only favoured Panneerselvam for the Chief Minister’s post. He also dubbed Chief Minister Palaniswami as a nominee of jailed leader Sasikala.
AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam of the Palaniswami camp rejected Munusamy’s allegation on the events leading to Dhinakaran’s ouster. “There is no drama. We compelled him (Dhinakaran) to step aside and he did it happily,” Vaithilingam said.
Hitting out at senior leader M Thambidurai who had said Palaniswami would continue as Chief Minister, Munusamy said they had not demanded the posts of either the Chief Minister or the party general secretary. He alleged that the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker was making such comments to stay relevant. He also hit out Finance Minister D Jayakumar for making “immature,” statements on the merger issue.
Responding to Munusamy, Vaithilingam said they had not put forth any conditions for talks,adding, they would “happily” sit for negotiations considering party’s welfare. “Respecting the sentiments of 1.5 crore party workers, to redeem the lost ‘Two Leaves’ party symbol and give good governance for the rest of four and a half years, we will take all (required) steps,” he said. He added that the Palaniswami camp had not set any pre-conditions for talks and that the camp was “happy to sit for discussions.” Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam said the party’s welfare must be the priority and not “someone’s personal whims and fancies.”
M Thambidurai calls on Tamil Nadu Governor
Meanwhile, senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai today met Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao amidst hectic political developments in the state concerning the ruling party. Rajbhavan sources said that Thambidurai had sought an appointment with the Governor following which the meeting took place. The sources, however, did not divulge further details.
(With inputs from PTI)