Chennai, April 19 (PTI): AIADMK deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran today "stepped aside" to pave the way for a merger of rival factions led by Tamil Nadu chief minister E.K. Palaniswami and his predecessor O. Panneerselvam.
The announcement by the nephew of jailed AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala followed his isolation after Palaniswami and a host of ministers last night vowed to oust the aunt-nephew duo from the party and the government. They also extended a hand of friendship to the Panneerselvam camp.
Dinakaran, accused of trying to bribe a poll panel official through a middleman to secure the AIADMK's frozen "two-leaves" symbol, said today he had "stepped aside" last night itself "in the interest of the party" and had no problems if the rival groups merged.
Dinakaran had earlier in the day convened a meeting of the MLAs backing him but called it off after some senior ministers questioned his authority.
Panneerselvam, a staunch loyalist of Jayalalithaa, described last night's revolt as the "first success" of his " dharma yuddh (holy war)" against the Sasikala clan.