O Panneerselvam dissolves panel made to broker AIADMK merger talks with Palaniswamy-led faction

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam announced that a seven-member panel formed to broker merger talks with the rival faction of AIADMK, headed by the present chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami, has been dissolved.

Panneerselvam made the announcement at a meeting of party functionaries in Thiruvallur on Sunday after senior party leaders pressed him for a decision in this regard, PTI reported.

"In this situation, the panel that was formed on behalf of our team (to hold merger talks) is being dissolved," PTI quoted Panneerselvam as saying.

File Image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

File Image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

The panel was established on 21 April to reconcile the two AIADMK factions that formed after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death.

The Panneerselvam camp said that the rival faction of the party has not honoured their demands of expelling party chief VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran, NDTV reported.

"EPS camp hasn't met our two key demands: to expel Sasikala and Dinakaran. They've not sought CBI probe into Jayalalithaa's death," said Rajya Sabha lawmaker V Maitreyan, who was a member of the now dissolved committee, the report added.

Panneerselvam reportedly said he was being "forced" to come up with such an announcement as he had been "tolerating" all kinds of "irresponsible statements" from the opposition camp.

At the meeting, he also said that MLAs were gifted "gold, diamond and cash" during their stay at a resort at Koovathur, prior to the 18 February trust vote won by Palaniswami, PTI reported.

Palaniswamy had said recently at a meeting that the party had enough numbers to lead the Tamil Nadu government without the Panneerselvam camp's support, an India Today report said.

The party broke into two factions following Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016 as the then AIADMK chief VK Sasikala tried to replace Panneerselvam as chief minister before her conviction in a corruption case.

After the conviction, Sasikala appointed Palaniswami, who many see as her proxy, as Tamil chief minister, and her nephew Dinakaran as the party's second-in-command.

After the divide, the Election Commission froze the party's symbol of 'two-leaves' as both sides staked claim for it. In April, Dinakaran was arrested on charges of bribing Election Commission officials to be allowed to use the symbol.

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 13:01 PM

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