Monday, 21 August, 2017

PM's word spurred AIADMK factions to resume merger talks

TN: Both AIADMK factions to merge after OPS, EPS meet with PM Tamil Nadu: Dinakaran moved from AIADMK party post, rivals factions likely to merge
Andrew Cummings | 11 August, 2017, 00:34

The majority faction of the AIADMK, led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), declared on Thursday that party cadres are not bound by the decisions of the party's deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran.

The AIADMK meeting also scrapped all appointments of office bearers and decisions made by Dinakaran, isolating him in the party.

Talking to media after a meeting led by OPS, Manoj Pandian, a senior member in the faction, said the group is sticking to its stand that all members of the Sasikala family should be expelled from the party and an investigation should be ordered into the circumstances leading to the demise of Jayalalithaa in hospital last December. "People who became Chief Minister, Ministers and office-bearers of the party because of the magnanimity of Sasikala are questioning her".

He was admitted by Sasikala on February 15, the day she surrendered in the Bengaluru court in connection with the corruption case, and on the same day he was made party deputy general secretary. The resolution is said to be the result of backdoor negotiations between two factions of the AIADMK to make way for a merger.

The developments that followed has now led to a third faction led by TTV Dinakaran, deputy general secretary and Sasikala's nephew.

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He also said the EC has banned the use of name of AIADMK, its symboland the party letterhead following the split in the aftermath of death of Ms Jayalalithaa. It was during his absence that EPS reportedly strengthened his position in the party and emerged as a real threat to Dinakaran.

Sasikala Natarajan is the long term political aide of Jayalalithaa and member of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). It is understood that the BJP was nudging both the factions to unite and even consider the prospects of joining the NDA formally. "If the situation warrants, surgical action will be taken", he said, adding it does not matter if it was Chief Minister Palaniswami or others. "Otherwise, we will be left without the "Two Leaves" symbol", he said. They are now headed to Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

BJP officials in Tamil Nadu said a senior party leader, who had come in from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 2015, had been in touch with both camps.

The OPS camp is yet to come out with its comments as its first demand was the ouster of Sasikala and her relatives from party posts and government.

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