The ruling AIADMK said 18 disqualified legislators can rejoin the party on one condition -- they must "kneel" and "apologise" at the memorial of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The 18 legislators were disqualified after they sided with rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, following a power tussle within the party after death of the former chief minister in December 2016.
The AIADMK's mouthpiece Namathu Amma credited the victory of all the 18 legislators in the 2016 assembly elections to Ms Jayalalithaa, and told them to "deeply repent" their action of siding with Mr Dhinakaran before returning to the parent organisation.
Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam have alleged the 18 legislators have been misled by Mr Dhinakaran.
The disqualified legislators have "come on the streets" by siding with Mr Dhinakaran and are in a "pitiable situation," the AIADMK said, adding those who became legislators because of Ms Jayalalithaa have been reduced to nothing by joining the "wrong camp".
"You had deserted the temple called AIADMK and joined AMMK. Whether you went for benefits or unwittingly, this situation has come up because of your veering off the path shown by Amma (Ms Jayalalithaa)," the AIADMK said. "Deeply repent. Kneel before Amma (at her memorial at Marina) and seek a tearful apology. Issue an apology to the party and return on time," it said.
The mouthpiece said Mr Dhinakaran had been dismissed from the party by Ms Jayalalithaa too.
The Madras High Court on October 25 upheld the June 14 order of the then Chief Justice disqualifying the 18 rebel AIADMK legislators, in a huge relief to the Palaniswami government.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan heard the pleas of the rival AIADMK camps after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict on June 14.
On Saturday last, Mr Panneerselvam and Mr Palaniswami had said party functionaries, including the 18 disqualified one, took an "alternative path as a result of being misled and due to some bitterness".
"We invite you with love and affection to join again the massive people's movement nurtured by Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma," they had said in an open letter to party workers.
Mr Dhinakaran's aide and one of the disqualified legislators, P Vetrivel, ruled out returning to the ruling camp. He said they would revamp the AIADMK by going to the people and facing the elections.
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