EPS responds to OPS demands, asks to withdraw symbol complaint

The two warring factions of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have not yet made any progress on merger talks, nearly 48 hours after the decision to sideline VK Sasikala and her family.

Muniswamy said that they fear that Dinakaran "stepping aside" is a "drama" and will only mean that more members of Sasikala's family - like her husband and other nephews - will come into the party.

It has also demanded that Chief Minister E Palaniswamy recommend a CBI probe into former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death in December a year ago.

Dinakaran, who was to contest the RK Nagar by-elections, is now under the investigation of the Delhi Police over allegations that he tried to bribe an Election Commission (EC) official to get the Two Leaves election symbol of the AIADMK.

Responding to OPS faction's demands, AIADMK (Amma), led by EPS, said it is ready for talks and has no conditions.

Though Finance Minister D Jayakumar, who announced the revolt after the meeting at Palaniswami's house, claimed the decision to keep away Sasikala family was "unanimous", some MLAs vowing allegiance to Dhinakaran questioned the ministers' action.

"There is no opposition to me in the party", he had earlier said.

Sasikala was elected as the AIADMK's General Secretary in December 2016.

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It has been learnt that he had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK faction keep the two leaves symbol.

The former chief minister said this struggle, launched "as per the wishes and aspirations of people and party cadre", will continue. "We met the Speaker [of the Tamil Nadu Assembly] and demanded an immediate Assembly session".

The AIADMK split into two after late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's death.

"After Amma's (Jayalalithaa) death, the party went into the hands of Sasikala's family and to prevent it we had launched a dharma yudh".

Dinakaran family includes Ms Sasikala, who was nominated the party General Secretary, serving a prison sentence in Bengaluru.

Tamil Nadu ministers address the media after a meeting late on Monday to retrieve the two leaves symbol. He added that the Palaniswami camp had not set any pre-conditions for talks and that the camp was "happy to sit for discussions".

Amid moves to sideline him, Mr Dinakaran rushed back from Bengaluru without meeting his aunt as he had intended and called a meeting of legislators at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai.

When asked for a comment, AIADMK (Amma) spokesperson Theeran says, "It happens in politics as they tend say to react on the spur of the moment".

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