Have Panneerselvam and Sasikala patched up? Decision on merger of AIADMK factions today

Speculations are that both factions of AIADMK may merge after former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Jayalalithaa loyalist O Panneerselvam said that if he is invited, he is ready to talk about merger.

Late night drama unfolded in Chennai when at least 25 leaders from AIADMK party held a meeting for over an hour, hinting at the merger of two factions of AIADMK - O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala camps.

Addressing the media after the meeting, minister D Jayakumar said, "We welcome OPS's statement about unifying the party. 123 MLAs and all ministers have only wished that Amma's rule should continue," adding that they discussed two issues in the meeting namely submitting the affidavit on two leaves symbol and that party wants Amma rule.

Jayakumar cleared that Sasikala has not resigned from the party yet.

"We discussed on the OPS statement of merging together. We welcome that, will hold talks," said Jayakumar after meeting.

He said they welcome all talks between EPS and OPS and are ready for merger.

Meanwhile, Dinakaran has taken special permission to meet Sasikala in Bengaluru jail.

The unscheduled late night meet was chaired by Electricity Minister K Thangamani at his official residence at the Greenways Road.

Ministers including Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, who is under the Income Tax scanner, were present at the meeting. Chief Minister K Palaniswami was however absent.

Vijayabaskar's presence is significant as it was speculated that his resignation was demanded by some senior ministers.

Ruling party legislators have also been asked to be available in the city on Tuesday, sources said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister K Palaniswami too held talks with his Cabinet colleagues. The meetings were held after Panneerselvam spoke about merger talks.

Earlier, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said that Dhinakaran faction was ready for talks with Panneerselvam for a patch-up.

Incidentally, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao also arrived in the city earlier in the day.

Earlier today, AIADMK deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran was booked in a bribery case filed by the Delhi Police's Crime Branch.

Dinakaran was allegedly told by Sukesh Chander, the mediator, that the AIADMK party symbol - which was frozen by the Election Commission last month ahead of the RK Nagar bypoll - would go to the Dinakaran-Sasikala camp if he was paid Rs 50 crore.

Dinakaran was allegedly in direct touch with the accused, and will be sent a summons asking him to join the probe. Sukesh has been arrested.

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