Panneerselvam says unity in AIADMK only on one condition

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Chennai : Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Tuesday ruled out any unity in the AIADMK until the now jailed V.K. Sasikala and her family was ousted from the party.

Speaking in Perikulam in Theni district, about 520 km from here, Panneerselvam said there cannot be any unification talks if Sasikala and her family members remained party members.

"Our stand is Sasikala and her family members should not be in the party," he said.

Panneerselvam said AIADMK founder, the late M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), and the late J. Jayalalithaa were against any family controlling the party.

He said there was no change in his fundamental stance that the party and the government should not be under the control of one family.

According to him, MGR never involved his brother in party affairs when he founded the AIADMK and went on to rule Tamil Nadu for a decade until his death in 1987.

Panneerselvam said Jayalalithaa admitted only Sasikala into the party and none from the latter's family.

He also said that doubts regarding the death of Jayalalithaa, who passed away on December 5 while holding the post of Chief Minister, had to be cleared.

Asked if he would allow K. Palaniswami, a Sasikala backer, to remain the Chief Minister if the AIADMK unites, Pannerselvam said there was no point in talking about things that would not happen.

The AIADMK split into two after Jayalalithaa's death. One faction is led by Sasikala and the other by Panneerselvam.

Meanwhile, Sasikala faction legislator Vetrivel questioned how a group of ministers discussed a patch-up without the consent of party Deputy General Secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran, a nephew of Sasikala.

On Monday night, several ministers discussed the issue of a patch-up with Panneerselvam.

Vetrivel told reporters in Chennai that the meeting of the ministers was "unofficial" and only those meetings held at the party office were "official".

Delhi Police have slapped a case against Dinakaran on charges of trying to bribe the Election Commission over the now frozen AIADMK election symbol and arrested one of his aides in Delhi with unaccounted money.