In another twist to the merger talks between the two AIADMK factions, the district secretaries at the meeting led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami were asked to submit affidavits in support of VK Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran, even as the EPS faction has been claiming that they have distanced TTV and Sasikala from the party, as demanded by the OPS faction.
The Times of India reported a party functionary saying that they were asked to collect as many signed affidavits as possible from party office bearers across the state in support of Sasikala and Dhinakaran, and the Palaniswami government.
However, a senior leader told TOI that the party meeting was focussed on submitting affidavits to the Election Commission for the âtwo leavesâ symbol. Both sides have been given time till June 15 to convince the EC that they have the right to the AIADMK party symbol, and both factions are trying to strengthen their claim over the two leaves.
It is said that O Panneerselvam had submitted more documents in the first round for the âtwo leavesâ symbol case. Moreover, when the EC extended the dates, they quickly submitted more affidavits to the Election Commission.
AIADMK spokesperson Nanjil Sampath on Thursday said that 87 MLAs were supporting TTV Dhinakaran, and welcome a merger of the factions "without O Panneerselvam and K Pandiarajan", as they betrayed the party, reported The New Indian Express. He also claimed that since everyone had a 'hidden agenda', there was no chance of a merger in the immediate future, TNIE reported.
Speaking about the case against TTV Dhinakaran, Sampath said that he was not surprised by this move, and pointed a finger at BJP as being behind the arrest. "We are not surprised by this case. Those in power will do anything to remove a person from politics," he reportedly said.
Finance Minister D Jayakumar said that the Edappadi Palaniswami faction was ready for the merger talks, but the OPS faction wants them to first meet the preconditions and then take the talks further.