AIADMK factions likely to come together before Aug 15

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami during a meeting with ministers and party's senior leaders at party's headquarters in Chennai

The resolution passed by the Amma faction led by Palaniswami on Thursday said Sasikala's appointment as party general secretary was only till the election of a new chief.

The AIADMK meeting also scrapped all appointments of office bearers and decisions made by Dinakaran, isolating him in the party. Here, however, the BJP is expecting a fast marriage of the two factions of the ruling AIADMK which has seen a rift following the death of J Jayalalithaa, the supremo of the party and the state's then chief minister, in December previous year. He also wondered how the Palaniswami camp could comment against Sasikala when they themselves had furnished an affidavit to the EC, endorsing her appointment as party chief.

According to party sources, Edapaddi Palanisami will continue as the chief minister and former chief minister O Panneerselvam could be made general secretary. The merger talks were fast-tracked as Dinakaran tried to assert his position with a series of appointments.

"During the RK Nagar byelection, the Election Commission recognised two factions of the AIADMK and ours was named as the AIADMK (Amma)". The merger is likely to take place before August 15 and both EPS and OPS, who will be in Delhi for Venkaiah Naidu's swearing in as Vice-president on Thrhursday evening are expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi together and formally announce their decision.

Sources said it also means that after the merger, O Panneerselvam will not be the general secretary of the party, but will only lead a committee that would run the party and coordinate with the government.

The AIADMK had 134 MLAs in the 232-member Assembly.

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Under such circumstances, the party was being run by top functionaries appointed by Amma (a reference to the camp led by Palaniswami), it said.

The AIADMK was fully equipped to complete a five-year term until J Jayalalithaa's death last year.

All these developments incidentally alarmed the BJP, which instructed both the factions to immediately merge.

In another demand, OPS camp has asked for a CBI probe into the death of Jayalalithaa. The EPS faction felt the appointments were to confuse the ranks.

However, the state soon witnessed a series of events leading to EPS's ascension to the CM chair as party general secretary VK Sasikala, who was seen as the natural heir of Jayalalithaa and was waiting to be the CM, ended up in jail following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

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