Broad deal clinched, merger between OPS, EPS factions of AIADMK likely today; Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao to arrive in Chennai today; V K Sasikala may be ousted

Also, today is considered to be auspicious in the wake of it being 'Amavasya,' there is a chance of the OPS-EPS merger deal getting sealed, party sources indicated.

Published: 20th August 2017 09:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2017 11:29 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The merger of AIADMK factions led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam is expected to take place on Monday, as both sides expressed confidence for a reunion.

First slated to happen on Friday, the merger had to be put off because a section in the rebel camp was not happy with the compromise formula. It forced OPS to listen to his men at a night-long meeting.

Party sources indicated that there may be a meeting at the party headquarters on Monday, 21 August, where decisions could be made by the Palaniswami camp on the question of the "formal expulsion" of V K Sasikala.    

Also, Monday being considered auspicious in the wake of it being 'Amavasya,' there is a chance of the merger deal getting sealed, the sources said.

On Saturday, both sides stated that they had come closer to forging rapprochement. Despite a section criticising the inquiry commission the CM had agreed to form to probe the death of party icon J Jayalalithaa, the rebels quietly formed a six-member committee and held talks with their counterparts.

“We have hammered out a compromise by sorting out the basic issues,” a member of the panel told Express on Sunday. He said the merger will surely take place on Monday. “We can’t prolong it further. Both factions will join hands together on Monday.”

The final call on power sharing among the rebels will be taken after formalising the reunion. Indications are OPS is okay with the number two slot in the Cabinet.

Panneerselvam on Sunday struck a positive note in the presence of storm petrel K P Munusamy and other top leaders at Rajapalayam when he stated, “We have moved forward by one step in the negotiations.”

He earlier participated in gatherings held by party functionaries in Tirunelveli and nearby regions.      

Speaking to reporters on his arrival at Chennai, he said, "Our lofty goal in effecting the merger will be to see that the party does not get entangled in the clutches of a family," apparently targeting party chief V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran.      

The rebel leader further said that "our goal will succeed" and that "this party will be of the cadres, and it will be safeguarded."    

One of his trusted lieutenants P Vetrivel, launched a scathing attack on OPS, alleging that as much as Rs 500 crore was handed to the former chief minister’s side to bring him back to the EPS faction.

From the other side, Finance Minister D Jayakumar philosophically said what had happened was for good and only the good would prevail going forward.

In Erode, AIADMK Amma faction veteran and Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan told reporters "It will be a good decision and will happen to the liking of cadres and people."      

While the EPS and OPS factions were busy working out a decent package, the sulking T T V Dhinakaran held consultations with his cronies at his residence in Adyar.

Emerging from the meeting, Dhinakaran's confidant Nanjil Sampath hit out at Panneerselvam for enacting a "drama" of talks with the Palaniswami camp.      

"Whatever decision they (camps led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam) take, Dhinakaran has the ability to put a full stop to it and we will prove it in the coming days," he said.     

The merger talks gained momentum after Palaniswami on August 17 announced that an inquiry commission would be set up to probe the death of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Poes Garden residence would be converted into a memorial, two of the key demands put forth by the Panneerselvam camp.    

Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister, had revolted against the leadership of jailed party chief V K Sasikala in February last, causing a split in the party.

(With inputs from PTI)


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