EPS Camp Moves Closer to OPS, Welcomes Offer to Merge
Chennai: Chennai was abuzz with speculation of another midnight revolt in the ruling AIADMK party with nine ministers of the Edappadi Palaniswami cabinet going into a huddle and early reports indicating that there could be a merger of the two warring factions.
Rumours flew thick and fast that VK Sasikala – now lodged in a prison in Karnataka after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case – had resigned as the party chief. This, however, was denied by Jayakumar, who is finance minister in the Palaniswami government.
At the late night meeting held at Thangamani's residence, Jayakumar said two things were discussed: one was the party's election symbol issue and the other was Panneerselvam's suggestion at merger.
According to sources, AIADMK leaders claim all MLAs and ministers are on the same page regarding the merger of the warring factions.
"We appreciate Panneerselvam's offer to merge. We want AIADMK to be united...Amma's legacy should continue. We spoke about how to function if we merge," said Jayakumar. "We will talk to Dinakaran once he returns from Bangalore".
Rebel leader and former chief minister O Panneerselvam had earlier hinted at fresh efforts at a unified AIADMK when he said he was confident that AIADMK leaders would approach him for merger talks.
Post the late night meeting, Jayakumar said,"We discussed about keeping the party united." The minister claimed that they also discussed the submission of affidavit to the EC.
The midnight developments capped a day that dawned with the sensational arrest of a man in Delhi with Rs 1.5 crore in cash that Delhi Police suspect was aimed at influencing the fight over the AIADMK official symbol.
The FIR filed by Crime Branch also names TTV Dinakaran – Sasikala’s nephew – who has since been summoned to join the probe. Dinakaran, who is the AIADMK candidate in the RK Nagar bypoll – postponed by Election Commission after allegations of large-scale cash distribution – had gone to Bangalore today to meet Sasikala in jail.
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