AIADMK to be united? Tamil Nadu CM Palanisami said to favour a merger between factions | india-news | Hindustan Times
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AIADMK to be united? Tamil Nadu CM Palanisami said to favour a merger between factions

The AIADMK split in a bitter power struggle after the death of party supremo J Jayalalithaa last December and her long-time aide Sasikala took over the reins.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2017 00:05 IST
KV Lakshmana
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami during a meeting with ministers and party's senior leaders at party's headquarters in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami during a meeting with ministers and party's senior leaders at party's headquarters in Chennai.(PTI Photo)

The two AIADMK factions in Tamil Nadu could merge as chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami is said to favour a unification to stonewall the ruling group’s jailed general secretary VK Sasikala and her family.

The AIADMK split in a bitter power struggle after the death of party supremo J Jayalalithaa last December and her long-time aide, Sasikala, took over the reins. She became the party general secretary and was a step away from becoming the chief minister before she was sent to jail for corruption.

Sasikala appointed her nephew, TTV Dinakaran, as the deputy general secretary and he allegedly is pushing chief minister Palanisami to the edge.

Sources said Dinakaran’s action has accelerated the merger moves between Palanisami group and the faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam, who is popular as OPS.

Palanisami has called a meeting of his faction on Thursday morning to discuss a unification formula.

According to the plan, OPS will be the interim general secretary of the AIADMK till the Election Commission decides the validity of Sasikala’s appointment as the party chief.

Palanisami, who replaced OPS after his revolt, will continue to be the chief minister.

If senior ministers and party colleagues approve the proposal, Palanisami is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will be visiting New Delhi anyway for the swearing-in of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday evening.

Sources said OPS has approved the formula that gives at least three ministerial berths to lawmakers loyal to him. Among them is former education minister M Foi Pandiarajan.

The former chief minister, however, remained firm in his stand that Sasikala and her family must be kept out of the party and government. The merger will happen only if this condition is met.

The move gained momentum after Dinakaran’s attempts to capture the ruling faction by planting office-bearers loyal to him.