Chennai, Apr 18: Chief Minister K Palaniswami has stressed for unity in taking the ruling AIADMK and its government forward, senior party leader K A Sengottaiyan said today, as informal meetings continued over a possible merger between the rival factions.
A day after several ministers discussed the modalities of a merger, placing the focus on redeeming the party's frozen 'Two Leaves' symbol, Sengottaiyan, Presidium Chairman of the AIADMK (Amma) camp and Higher Education Minister, held discussions with Palaniswami.
"The Chief Minister said all of us have to be united in taking the party and the government forward and that it should continue (through the rest of its term)," he said. Palaniswami was not present during the meeting late last night held by the ministers to discuss the modalities of a possible patch up with the former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam-led faction.
The Chief Minister also insisted that the party should win "when the elections are held again," Sengottaiyan said. According to party sources, MLAs from both factions were holding informal meetings over the possible merger issue.
An MLA from Sasikala camp, who was on board the INS Chennai, said there are likely to be formal meetings on the matter during the later part of the day. Sengottaiyan also held discussions with the faction's Deputy General Secretary T T V Dhinakaran.
Dhinakaran is facing heat from the Delhi Police for allegedly attempting to bribe an Election Commission official to retain the original party symbol. On the other hand, sources in the Panneerselvam camp said none from the rival side had approached them for talks. While the next Lok Sabha polls are scheduled in 2019, the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections are slated for 2021.
Sengottaiyan parried questions on reports of party chief Sasikala and Dhinakaran quitting their respective posts. He said talks between the two groups could take shape gradually, indicating that the possible merger process could take some time.
Some of the ministers had met at the residence of Electricity Minister P Thangamani last night where they discussed the modalities of a patch-up. The AIADMK suffered a vertical split on February 7 when Panneerselvam alleged that he was forced by Sasikala to make way for her elevation as Chief Minister. The two factions had since staked claim to the two leaves symbol which the Election Commission subsequently froze.