Chennai, Aug 10: The merger talks between the two AIADMK factions are in final phase, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will soon finalise a pact with O Panneerselvam. As per the proposed fact for the merger of two AIADMK factions, Edappadi K Palaniswami will continue as Chief Minister and O Panneerselvam will get the post of Deputy CM. Two of Panneerselvam’s lieutenants, Mafoi K Pandiarajan and Semmalai, may also get cabinet berths. The Panneerselvam camp is also pitching for a re-entry of the unified AIADMK into the NDA at the Centre, after a gap of 18 years.
According to the agreement, O Panneerselvam would lead the seven-member committee to manage the party affairs till the general council is convened and formal elections take place. The committee will have three members from each of the factions. He would be the new general secretary of the merged AIADMK. After receiving approval from party leaders, Edappadi Palaniswami will proceed to Delhi for the swearing in of Venkaiah Naidu as Vice-president on Thursday evening. At Delhi, he is likely to brief Prime MInister Narendra Modi about the merger formula. The BJP leadership is keen on the merger of the two AIADMK factions and has pressed both the groups to complete the merger talks as early as possible.
The Palaniswami faction is learnt to have sped up the merger process following TTV Dinakaran’s increasing attempts to control the party affairs. Earlier, three AIADMK MLAs declined to accept party posts offered to them by the AIADMK faction led by General Secretary VK Sasikala and Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran. Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D. Jayakumar questioned the appointment of office bearers by Dinakaran as the election of Sasikala as General Secretary is in itself disputed and was yet to be decided by the courts and the Election Commission.
Following the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK had split into different factions. One faction is led by O Panneerselvam, who rebelled against the leadership of VK Sasikala. The other two factions are led by Palaniswami and Sasikala.