At least 25 ministers of E Palaniswami-headed Tamil Nadu Government held a late night cabinet meeting in Chennai. The ministers, who belong to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami-camp, welcomed O Panneerselvam’s remarks on possibility of a merger between both factions, ANI reported. “We discussed on the OPS statement of merging together. We welcome that, will hold talks,” Tamil Nadu Minister D Jayakumar was quoted as saying by ANI after meeting. As per Times Now, the ministers also discussed an affidavit to be submitted on the post of party chief. The meeting was held in the absence of faction leader Sasikala’s deputy Dinakaran, who was reportedly in Bengaluru at the moment. Earlier, ANI quoting sources had reported that MLAs belonging to Sasikala Natarajan and O Panneerselvam camps of AIADMK may hold a meeting on Tuesday and discuss merger of two factions. Meanwhile, O Panneerselvam, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, had expressed his confidence that the TTV Dinakaran-led faction leaders would turn up for merger talks on Tuesday. When asked about the speculation on merger of the two AIADMK factions, and that he was going to be made “general secretary,” he said no one has approached him for it so far, PTI reported. However, in the light of the meeting tonight, the chances of Sasikala losing her post have increased. Panneerselvam added that he is ready to talk if approached. As per PTI, speculation is rife in political circles that a merger is on the cards after dumping party interim chief V K Sasikala and her family, including deputy chief Dinakaran. Panneerselvam refused to make any comments on the FIR against Dinakaran, and said that he will speak on the issue after getting full information. Answering a question, Panneerselvam expressed confidence that only his faction would get the AIADMK party’s two-leaves symbol.
Earlier in the day, a man was arrested in Delhi for allegedly trying to strike a deal of Rs 50 crore to help the AIADMK faction keep the ‘two leaves’ poll symbol. He was today sent to eight days police custody by a Delhi court, PTI reported. Sukesh Chandrasekhar, an alleged middleman, was produced at the residence of Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry who allowed the plea of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch to interrogate the accused for eight days, defence counsel said – he claimed that he has known AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran for the last four years and had told him that he would get a favourable verdict from the Election Commission (EC) in the party symbol case, a senior Delhi Police officer said. Speaking to media over the issue, Chandrashekhar’s advocate Ashwani Kumar alleged police was keeping his client in the dark and misguided them to make sure that the defence lawyers were not present when they produced the accused at the judge’s residence.