AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction leader O Panneerselvam today said he is yet to hear from the Amma camp over the merger of the two, even as he accused the E K Palaniswami-led Tamil Nadu government of corruption. His statement comes in the wake of heightened expectations of unification of the ruling party, with the AIADMK (Amma) giving indications in this regard. “We have not received any official information from their camp. They are themselves just making some comments (on merger),” Panneerselvam, leader of the AIADMK’s Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction, told reporters at Chennai airport.
Asked if there were any prospects of the merger, he said, “I have already conveyed our decision,” apparently referring to his side’s main demand of keeping AIADMK chief V K Sasikala and her family members out of the party, as pre-conditions for talks. He had on June 11 disbanded a seven-member panel formed by his faction to hold merger talks with the Amma camp, virtually bringing down the curtains on unification talks. The former chief minister had then said he was being “forced” to come up with the announcement as he had been “tolerating” all kinds of “irresponsible statements” from the rival camp.
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People from all walks of life, especially women, students and the youth, were opposed to the idea of the merger, he had said. Later speaking to reporters at Coimbatore, Panneerselvam alleged there was “corruption at all levels” under the present government. “This is a betrayal to MGR (party founder M G Ramachandran) and Amma (J Jayalalithaa),” he added. Panneerselvam said there was some “development” in the rival faction after the arrival of T T V Dhinakaran, the AIADMK Amma deputy general secretary, which is being “closely monitored”.
“We are closely monitoring the development of friction in the other faction between chief minister Palaniswami and Dhinakaran,” he said. “Whatsoever, the majority of the workers in AIADMK are with us as we followed the path of founder M G Ramachandran and former chief minister Jayalalithaa,” he said. Palaniswami had said last month that he believed the warring AIADMK factions, headed by him and his predecessor Panneerselvam, would unite. The camp’s sidelined deputy general secretary Dhinakaran had also indicated that he himself might take up efforts for the merger if it did not happen by August.
On August 1, Finance minister D Jayakumar had claimed that parleys on merger were “happening at various levels,” and insisted that the “door for talks” were not closed. Dhinakaran, earlier boycotted by a section of the cabinet including chief minister Palaniswami, had given an August 4 deadline for the merger, saying he himself will initiate the process if it did not take off by then.