In a dramatic turn of events in Tamil Nadu politics, several senior Tamil Nadu Ministers last night went into a huddle here amid reports about coming together of rival AIADMK factions led by TTV Dinakaran and O Panneerselvam. “Sasikala faction of AIADMK has formed a committee to conduct talks on merger,” says former chief minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam. Meanwhile, state minister Sellur Raju said that “OPS had said there are possibilities that we (both AIADMK factions) could sit together and talk to iron out the differences.” According to Times Now report, Dinakar proposed new formula in meeting with state ministers. It has been learned that he suggested Sasikala to remain as party general secretary. Since the demise of former Tamil Nadu chief minister on December 5, 2016, the state politics have witnessed several unexpected events.
Here is what we know so far
In what can be called as a major hint towards sewing up an unprecedented merger between two warring factions in the Tamil Nadu Government, the Sasikala and the O. Panneerselvam groups of the AIADMK met on April 17 to discuss and deliberate over possibilities of their unification. The re-united party will then stake a claim for the AIADMK symbol – two leaves. The development came after the Delhi Police yesterday had booked AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dinakaran for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official in a failed bid to obtain the coveted “two-leaves” party symbol for his faction.
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A few days ago By-elections in Chennai’s RK Nagar constituency was cancelled by the Election Commission last week after cash-for-votes allegations surfaced. The decision came after income tax raids in Chennai found money had been distributed to voters prior to the polls.
Income tax officials alleged that the Sasikala faction of the party had paid Rs. 89 crore to voters to buy support for its candidate TTV Dinakaran, who is also her nephew. As evidence, the department had cited documents seized during raids in more than 35 places, including properties of the state health minister C Vijayabaskar. The Sasikala faction, however, refuted the allegation.
The Election Commission froze the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) election symbol of ‘two leaves’, after representatives of former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam and former party general secretary V.K. Sasikala made seperate claims for it.
Sasikala and Panneerselvam camps locked horns over the AIADMK election symbol ‘two leaves’ in view of the R.K. Nagar assembly constituency the by-elections in Chennai that were to be held on April 12.
Edappadi K. Palaniswami took oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister along with 31 other AIADMK MLAs on February 16. Meanwhile, the AIADMK said that Palanisamy will seek the vote of confidence on February 18. On February 18, amid an uproar in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Edappadi K. Palaniswami won the vote of confidence with 122 MLAs supporting him.
(With agency inputs)