Setback to merger talks: Palaniswami, OPS trade charges

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Setback to merger talks: Palaniswami, OPS trade charges

Chennai, May 1 (PTI) In a setback to merger talks between the AIADMK rival factions, Chief Minister K Palaniswami and rebel leader O Panneerselvam blamed each other today for the merger talks continuing to be a non-starter.

Rebel leader O Panneerselvam asked how his camp could trust the Palaniswami-led Amma group since it had furnished affidavits to the Election Commission affirming VK Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran as party general secretary and deputy general secretary respectively.

Palaniswami, without naming Panneerselvam’s group, said “some” were “posing obstacles,” though his camp was ready for “unconditional talks.” He said conditions were being imposed by the rival camp wantonly.

Citing the symbol row in the EC and a court case, he asked how could parleys be conducted with strings attached under such circumstances.

The chief minister, at a public meeting here, asserted that only through dialogue a solution could be found to the issue. He said Amma group felt that both the government and party should function well.

Former chief minister O Panneerselvam had said that the Palaniswami camp had already given affidavits to the EC stating Sasikala and Dhinakaran as party general and deputy general secretaries, affirming their roles as the party chief and deputy chief.

Now, a new addition was the inclusion of the name of Palaniswami as well in the papers submitted to the EC, he noted.

Referring to the names of Sasikala and Dhinakaran figuring in the papers submitted to the EC, he asked “how we can believe them.”

Panneerselvam group had been opposing Sasikala and Dhinakaran from the beginning and had demanded their formal ouster from the party as a pre-condition for talks.

Palaniswami group had announced days ago that both Sasikala and Dhinakaran will be “kept out” of both the party and the government.

Last week, Amma camp functionaries including district secretaries held deliberations in the party headquarters here during which papers that were to be submitted to the EC also came up.

Senior leader R Vaithialingam had said that Palaniswami who also happens to be the party headquarters secretary was included in the party papers to be given to EC and no “corrections” were made.

The papers were part of the documents that were submitted in connection with the two-leaves symbol row.

At that time, Panneerselvam camp had claimed that signatures were being taken from functionaries in papers that still had the names of Sasikala and Dhinakaran even after announcing that they were being eased out.

Meanwhile, sources said Panneerselvam will embark on a state-wide tour on May 5 from Kanchipuram to meet party workers and the public.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.