Breaking: Pannerselvam rules out merger talks, likely to meet Narendra Modi today

May 19, 2017, Chennai

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Chennai, May 19:  The AIADMK faction led by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday ruled out talks with the rival faction headed by Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy on a merger unless it declares Sasikala and her family members are formally expelled from the party.

The group also kept its cards close to its chest on which party or candidate it would support in the Presidential election slated in July.

"Our group has launched a dharma yudh for upholding the principles laid down by the late MGR and Jayalalithaa that the party should not go into the hands of any family, least of all into the hands of Sasikala and T T V Dinakaran. Even now the official party organ 'Namadhu MGR' carries statements in the name of Deputy General Secretary T T V Dinakaran.

"How can we take a decision to enter into talks with them (the faction headed by Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy) in such circumstances," Panneerselvam told a press conference after meeting the Election Commission.

In reply to another question on whose hands were dominating the rival faction , K Munuswamy, a senior leader of his faction and a former minister, said even now the party was being run by Diwakar, another relative of Sasikala. "Benami hands are still dominating the party. They (chief minister's side) has still not expelled them (Sasikala and Dinakaran). Only middle rung leaders are saying this. We have two demands -- a CBI probe into the death of Jayalalithaa and expulsion of Sasikala and Dinakaran. Once that is done, it is very easy to resume merger talks."

Meanwhile, OPS is expected to meet PM Narendra Modi today evening. The meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of the NDA government and the AIADMK regime redefining their relationship in the run-up to the Presidential polls.