EPS-OPS factions begin deliberations on AIADMK merger issue

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Chennai, Aug 18 (PTI): The two factions of the AIADMK went into a huddle today to chalk out the future course of action, a day after the Tamil Nadu government announced a probe into the death of J Jayalalithaa. While Chief Minister K Palaniswami was closeted with his Cabinet colleagues to deliberate on the matter, the rival camp led by O Panneerselvam held its own meeting here.

The meeting held at the residence of Panneerselvam, a former chief minister, was attended by the top leaders of his camp, including former ministers K P Munusamy, K Panidarajan, besides MLAs, MPs and other office-bearers. Panneerselvam, who has the support of about 10 MLAs and a dozen MPs, is expected to formally respond to Palaniswamy’s announcement on setting up of an inquiry commission to probe Jayalalithaa’s death and conversion of her Poes Garden home into a memorial, two key demands of his faction for the merger.

The formal expulsion of jailed party general secretary V K Sasikala and her kin, including deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran, from the AIADMK was the other major demand. While the Palaniswami camp has “delegitimised” Dhinakaran’s post, it was maintaining that Sasikala’s appointment was hanging in balance as the matter was pending with the Election Commission and the court. Though the Panneerselvam faction had sought “either a CBI or a judicial probe,” in March, some of its leaders now claim that the demand was for only a CBI investigation.

Against this background, the meeting chaired by the chief minister is deliberating on various issues raised by the OPS faction. Simultaneously, supporters of Dhinakaran are holding consultations at a city hotel even as he met his aunt Sasikala in a Bengaluru prison earlier in the day along with his family. The supporters also held functions to celebrate the Sasikala’s birthday today by disbursing welfare assistance.

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