Team OPS announces panel to hold talks with Palanisamy — AIADMK merger

Panneerselvam also wants the Palaniswami government to recommend a CBI probe to go into the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa's death in December previous year.

The O Pannerselvam-led faction dug in its heels, terming the truce call by the EPS faction a "drama" authored by Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan, and brother V Dhivakaran, using Dhinakaran as the "pagadaikai" (dice).

Merger talks will be held only when Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK sacks its top leaders V.K. Sasikala and T.T.V. Dinakaran, the faction led by O. Panneerselvam said on Thursday.

The ruling AIADMK (Amma) faction on Friday announced setting up of a committee under party's senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam to oversee merger talks between the camps headed by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam.

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"Current Chief Minister Palanisamy, who was appointed at the mercy of Sasikala, is not acting as the AIADMK Chief Minister rather he is acting as the Chief Minister of Sasikala and her family", he said.

Though leaders of the AIADMK (Amma), on record, say they are for issues to be thrashed out through talks, they are also clear that the arithmetic in the House is on their side, as they have 122 MLAs.

Munusamy ruled out any patch-up talks if the above demands were not met by the rival faction. Dinakaran said earlier this week that he was "stepping aside" in the interest of the party. Vetrivel later said Dhinakaran had directed them to meet the chief minister and extend their cooperation forsmooth functioning of the government. We will join him as and when required. Law minister C Ve Shanmugam asked how his party's affidavit could be withdrawn when it was the OPS camp which moved the EC to challenge the appointment of general secretary and to stake claim for the "two leaves" symbol.

The OPS faction is demanding that VK Sasikala, general secretary, who is in jail after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case and TTV Dinakaran, the deputy general secretary, and nephew of Sasikala, be expelled from the party.

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