Legislators loyal to AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran today met Chief Minister K Palaniswami amid speculation that they took up the matter of "leadership issue" in the party. MLAs, including Senthil Balaji, met Palaniswami at the Secretariat. Later in the evening, Palaniswami convened a meeting in which Ministers including D Jayakumar, district secretaries and other party functionaries participated. An AIADMK Amma party release said the meeting chaired by Palaniswami at party headquarters here deliberated on grand celebrations of the centenary of party founder and late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran. Emerging out of the meeting, Jayakumar told reporters that the "review meet deliberated on celebration of MGR's centenary in a grand and not seen before manner across Tamil Nadu." While Palaniswami camp had reiterated recently that Dhinakaran should continue to keep away from party affairs, the supporters of the party deputy chief had opposed it. Dhinakaran, who is now reportedly in Bengaluru, had recently said that jailed leader V K Sasikala had given 60 days time so that rival factions could merge. He had said that if the merger did not fructify, she had briefed him on what needs to be done. Though Panneerselvam recently poured cold water on the merger proposal by disbanding a committee formed for the purpose saying people were not in favour of it, Palaniswami camp had asked him to reconsider it. Today's meetings come at a time when the AIADMK is facing fresh trouble after S S Saravanan, a party MLA belonging to the dissident faction led by Panneerselvam, purportedly made some claims in a TV 'sting' operation about alleged pay-offs to ruling party MLAs ahead of the February 18 trust vote that was won by Palaniswami. The MLA, however, has later clarified that it was him in the video footage aired by the TV channel, but the voice was not his. Opposition DMK had tried to raise the issue in the ongoing assembly session in the past two days but was denied permission by the Speaker.
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