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Ironing out wrinkles in the big merger deal

While rebels drive a hard bargain to milk the opportunity, sceptical voices question the merger without clear goals

Published: 19th August 2017 01:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2017 07:07 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: As they inch towards what seems to be the last episodes of the dharma yudhdham that has been playing out for more than six months, the rebel leaders are locked in intense – and at times heated – debate over the contours of the compromise deal with the establishment faction of the AIADMK.

Speculations were rife after two senior ministers, the lieutenants of ruling faction leader and Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami, SP Velumani and P Thangamani, met rebel leader O P Panneerselvam at a private hospital in Chennai where the latters mother has been admitted for treatment. The meeting gave indications of a smooth and swift patch up.

Policemen stand guard outside the late J Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence | D SAMPATHKUMAR

However, sources said, it was clear that the move would be anything but smooth after Panneerselvam began the meeting of his faction members. The consultations saw intense debate over the details of the deal – and even the necessity of it in the present manner.

Sources said though hard-line leader KS Munusami was subdued on Friday, but a section of leaders were openly sceptical about the compromise formula and even the rationale of merging without realising any of the declared goals in a definitive manner. For instance, while general secretary VK Sasikala and her nephew and deputy TTV Dhinakaran have been ostensibly side-lined, it is clear that they still hold enough stay to trouble even if not to usurp. There has been comments of dissatisfaction about the judicial probe that Palaniswami ordered into Jaya’s death, with at least a few including Munusami seeking nothing less than a CBI probe.

Then, there was the delicate, important matter of accommodating the rebel members at various levels of the party and government. Sources said there were even demands that the chief minister post should return to Panneerselvam, besides ministerial posts for MLAs, and organisational posts for the leaders who are not elected representatives. Such was the heat during the meeting at Panneerselvam’s house that two MLAs, SS Saravanan and OK Chinnaraj, walked out in the middle. The large number of media personnel and cadre remained outside, after insiders from both camps indicated that it was only a matter of hours for the formal announcement.

This vigil ended when senior leader E Madhusudanan emerged from the meeting and said the leader (Panneerselvam) would take a good decision. Then came the formal word that there wouldn’t be any announcement in the night.Dharma yudhdham will continue on Saturday. Stay tuned.

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