Chennai: The ruling AIADMK on Monday asked the 18 disqualified party MLAs siding with rival leader TTV Dhinakaran to "kneel" and "apologise" at the memorial of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in order to return to the party fold.
Party mouthpiece 'Namathu Amma' credited the victory of all 18 individuals in the 2016 Assembly polls to the late AIADMK supremo and asked them to "deeply repent" their action of siding with Dhinakaran before returning to the parent organisation.
A write-up in the vernacular daily came days after the AIADMK leadership extended an olive branch to the 18 disqualified legislators, asking them to jump on to the ruling party bandwagon, as the ruling party leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami alleged Dhinakaran of "misleading" them.
The disqualified MLAs have "come on the streets" by siding with Dhinakaran and are in a "pitiable situation," it said, adding those who became MLAs because of Jayalalithaa were now virtually reduced to nothing by joining the "wrong camp".
"You had deserted the temple called AIADMK and joined AMMK. Whether you went for benefits or unwittingly, this situation has come up because of your veering off the path shown by Amma (Jayalalithaa)," it said.
"Deeply repent (your actions). Kneel before Amma (at her memorial at Marina) and seek a tearful apology. Issue an apology letter to the party and return on time," it said. The mouthpiece also recalled that Dhinakaran had been earlier dismissed from the party by Jayalalithaa.
The Madras High Court had on October 25 upheld the June 14 order of the then chief justice disqualifying the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs, in a huge relief to the K Palaniswami government.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan had heard the pleas of the rival parties after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict on June 14.
On Saturday, party coordinator Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Palaniswami had said party functionaries, including the 18 disqualified MLAs, had chosen to travel on an "alternative path as a result of being misled and due to some bitterness".
"We invite you with love and affection to join again the massive people's movement nurtured by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma," they had said in an open letter to cadres.
However, key Dhinakaran loyalist and one of the disqualified MLAs, P Vetrivel, had ruled out going back to the ruling camp. He had said they would retrieve the AIADMK by going to the people and facing the polls....