'Anything to keep AIADMK united', TN minister hints at merger with OPS camp

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The warring factions of the AIADMK are all set to keep their differences aside and head towards a merger. After an unannounced meeting with more than 26 ministers, cabinet minister Jayakumar said that a decision to do everything it takes to unite the party has been made. "We discussed just two issues. We decided to do anything it takes to unite the AIADMK and work together. The issue of filing an affidavit in the election commission was also discussed in the meeting," said Jayakumar after he emerged from the meeting that was held at Power minister Tangamani's residence.

"What Panneerselvam said is welcome and we will take it forward and do everything we can to unite the party and work together. Jayalalithaa's governance should continue and unity is what we want," he added. He briefed the media after a meeting with other ministers in the absence of deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran. His statements making it clear that both factions will merge soon.

During the meeting on Monday, the ministers are said to have decided to form a committee to engage both factions in a dialogue aimed at a merger. While Panneerselvam on Monday said that there was no problem in merging both factions as long as Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dinakaran are ousted from their posts, Thambidurai of the AIADMK Amma faction 'welcomed' Panneerselvam's statement on the merger.

Talks were being held at various leadership levels ever since the election commission countermanded the R K Nagar bypoll. The cancellation of the bypoll marked the downfall for AIADMK Amma and especially TTV Dinakaran. The Income Tax raids at Vijaya Bhaskar and Sarathkumar's properties came as a rude shock to the party members and the FIR against TTV Dinakaran in a bribery case seems to have been the last straw. Reports suggested that Sasikala Natarajan who is currently lodged in the Bengaluru central prison has decided to resign from her post as the party's general secretary with rebellion brewing within her faction.

The minister, however, denied having any knowledge about Sasikala's resignation. While he said that no discussion on TTV Dinakaran's continuation in the post of deputy general secretary took place, he was also careful to add that a decision on a merger with Panneerselvam camp will be taken after Dinakaran returns to Chennai. The meeting comes a day before AIADMK MLAs come together in Chennai following Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy's invite. Another meeting is expected to take place with the MLAs on Tuesday.

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