Chennai: With Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami hardening his position and accusing former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s group of emphasising their conditions for talks, the negotiations for the merger of the two factions appear to be a non-starter.
In a closed door meeting of party workers at his home district of Salem, the Chief Minister had rejected both the demands as impossible since both issues are up before the Madras High Court and the Election Commission. A confident and defiant Palanisami said “The government and party are with us. We have 123 MLAs, 48 district secretaries and 37 MPs. We don’t need their support for the government or party.”
“Two wheels are necessary for running a cart. As far as we are concerned, both wheels, the government and party are with us. Panneerselvam group is travelling in a cart without wheels. About 90 per cent of the office-bearers are with us. We need not fear anything”, he is reported to have said at the meeting.
He also asserted that the objective of the AIADMK is to defeat the DMK. "The splinter group was called for talks to unite the party. They initially said the talks will be unconditional. However, they changed their stand and put forth conditions, obstructing the talks. We have enough strength", he concluded.
The Chief Minister's defiant speech comes as a shock to the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) group, which discussed its own strategy on Monday.
Panneerselvam conducted a meeting of his supporters who said the negotiations would not be favourable after the hard hitting speech of the Chief Minister.
The Panneerselvam group had taken a decision to go the people's court through a campaign tour throughout the state. The group would hold district-wise meeting of the party and the first of them would be held in Kanchipuram on May 5. Such meetings would be held in all the districts throughout May. After eliciting the opinion of workers, the group would celebrate the centenary of party founder and former Chief Minister MGR.
Realising the futility of continuing the negotiations, the ruling AIADMK (Amma) had decided to carry on with the other government and party works. The ruling group had obtained signatures in affidavits from party functionaries with the names of general secretary VK Sasikala, deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran and Palanisami.
The Cabinet would meet at 11 am on May 2 where a decision to convene the Assembly session for discussing the demands for grants to the ministries is likely to be taken. After presenting the budget, the subsequent discussion on demands was not held and the allocation for various departments should be made so that the schemes could be implemented.
A seven-member team was formed by both the factions on April 21, but the team members did not meet even once. The leaders in each faction had come out with contradicting views which had spoiled the negotiations. With both the factions deciding to go for their routine schedule, the negotiations for merger does not appear to be in the horizon at the moment....