Chennai: Impasse over the merger talks between the two AIADMK factions continued on Saturday with Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami group claiming time was ‘ripe’ for parleys even as the OPS camp remained firm on its demands. The merger talks, already bogged down due to differing views being expressed by the functionaries on both sides, hit a road block over former minister S. Semmalai's remarks. State finance minister D. Jayakumar who claimed time was ‘ripe for talks’ blamed Panneerselvam camp for not coming to negotiating table.
“They are refusing to come to the table,” he said on Saturday and added that the discussions will be “transparent.” He also sought to know if the resolution passed by the Salem unit of AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction) under the leadership of Semmalai against the proposed merger was Semmalai's personal view or that of the faction he represented. Speaking to reporters after garlanding the statue of poet Bharathidasan on the Marina on the poet's 127th birth anniversary, Mr Jayakumar asserted that former CM Jayalalithaa’s rule would continue for its full term.
However, AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction maintained that discussions ‘will happen’ only when its demands are met. Mr Panneerselvam aide and RS member V. Maithreyan reiterated the faction’s demand for a CBI probe besides removal of party chief V. K. Sasikala and members of her family from the party. AIADMK (Amma) led by Palaniswami accused the O. Panneerselvam faction of “refusing” to come for talks.
When contacted, Mr Semmalai replied that a resolution passed at the party's officebearers' meeting expressed displeasure over the merger. “I had said I will convey the decision to party high command. How can this be either my personal view of that of Mr Panneerselvam,” he asked. Though both the groups have been expressing their willingness to sit across the table and discuss the merger since they set up their respective seven-member committees about 10 days ago, the talks have not been smooth.