AIADMK merger delayed, talks to continue

Chennai: The OPS and EPS factions of the AIADMK seem to inch closer to a merger after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami accepted most of the rebel camp’s demands, besides a judicial probe into the death J Jayalalithaa last December.

The AIADMK broke into three factions after Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year. The first to revolt against the party’s General Secretary and now jailed V.K. Sasikala was Panneerselvam.

The Panneerselvam faction had laid three conditions for an AIADMK merger: keeping out Sasikala and her family members, ordering a judicial probe into the death of Jayalalithaa and converting Jayalalithaa’s residence into a memorial.

Earlier in the evening, security was beefed up at the Jaya memorial on Chennai’s Marina beach. This triggered speculation that the merger announcement might take place there. This was also the spot from where former TN CM O Panneerselvam started the revolt against Sasikala on February 7 this year.

Palaniswami and his predecessor, rebel leader O Panneerselvam, were expected to meet to formalise a unification deal that will include a power-sharing formula.

On the other hand, T.T.V. Dinakaran, a leader of one of the AIADMK factions, said the proposed merger of other two factions of the AIADMK — led by E. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam and the other led by Palaniswami — was being done by people to safeguard their positions.

He said his faction would prove its authority at the appropriate time. Dinakaran met his jailed aunt Sasikala on her 63rd birthday in Bengaluru today.

Dinakaran has been sacked as the AIADMK Deputy General Secretary by the ruling faction led by Chief Minister Palaniswami.

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