Panneerselvam toughens stance on merger as noose around Dinakaran tightens — AIADMK crisis

Leader of rival AIADMK faction O Panneerselvam again voiced his opposition to party chief VK Sasikala, saying their "basic principle" was that the party and government should not be in the hands of a family.

Muniswamy said that they fear that Dinakaran "stepping aside" is a "drama" and will only mean that more members of Sasikala's family - like her husband and other nephews - will come into the party.

Getting a green signal from Panneerselvam that he was ready for a merger provided Dinakaran and his jailed aunt Sasikala were kept out of the party, chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami went into a huddle with senior cabinet colleagues and they chose to accept the demand.

He said they have group sought written proof that Sasikla and Dinakaran have been removed from the primary membership of the AIADMK and proof of withdrawal of their affidavit before the Election Commission. The AIADMK has been divided into two factions; the Panneerselvam camp and the Sasikala camp (Palaniswami camp after her arrest).

Though that meets a big demand by OPS, the two factions are yet to find common ground on who should be chief minister. He said the decision reflects the collective opinion of the grassroot level workers of the party, its MLAs, MPs and ministers.

Dinakaran earlier said that as everyone had made a decision to keep him out of party affairs, he had chose to stay out. "Sasikala's appointment as the general secretary is illegal and we will not accept it. Family politics will not be accepted", he asserted.

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Meanwhile, 6 party MLAs have extended support to Dhinakaran, said reports.

Dhivakaran boasting about the family's association with Jayalalithaa upset Sasikala, according to sources, leading her to choose TTV as party leader in her absence. "We wanted the doubts to be cleared on Jayalalithaa's death", he said reiterating that they began this dharma yudh with two conditions - a judicial probe into Amma's death and removing Sasikala's family. He had claimed that both Sasikala and Dinakaran had been involved in corrupt activities.

On Tuesday night, Jayakumar said a committee will be formed to run the party.

Within hours of the Delhi police uncovering Dinakaran's plot to snatch the "two leaves" symbol by bribing the EC and booking a case against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act, tremors were felt in Fort St George in Chennai held by the Sasikala faction.

The Panneerselvam camp will also be meeting to discuss the present political situation.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai also called on Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday, in an apparent effort to merge the two factions of AIADMK.

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