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19 Sep 2019, Edition - 1528, Thursday

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Coimbatore

AIADMK merger plan comes unstuck over ‘Sasikala ouster’

Covai Post Network

The much anticipated and imminent merger of two AIADMK factions could not materialise on Friday, as announced, because OPS camp insisted that jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala must be removed from the party formally before the merger is to take place.

This is being a bargaining tactic from the OPS, who has just 10 MLAs with him to garner as many ministerial posts and party post for himself, sources said.

The Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisami was ready, the Amma memorial was decked up for the two leaders, EPS and OPS to announce the merger, scheduled as per information given to the media at 7.30 p.m.

But when the deadline ran out and the arrival was delayed by over three hours, doubts began to emerge among the media persons and AIADMK leaders and cadres thronging the residence of EPS and OPS, till it was confirmed that “merger will not happen on Friday night”.

A OPS camp leader announced to the media that “there will be no press statement from the OPS camp and if there was going to be one tomorrow, it will be intimated to you.”

Senior leader and former finance minister C Ponnaian came out of the meeting and said “there is no news” and went away. He said, “OPS will convey what needs to be conveyed,” before leaving the residence of the former chief minister.

The OPS camp began its meeting at 5 p.m. and continued till 9 p.m., without coming to any consensus.

A senior OPS camp leader told on condition of anonymity that “the progress was held because of continuation of Sasikala as the general secretary of the party. Unless she is ousted, there can be no merger, he said. There are details to be worked out on issues of ministerial berths and party post.

Earlier in the day, Jayalalithaa memorial was all decked up for the two leaders to come and make the announcement, but it was not to be. The merger would have kept the Mannargudi family out of the party, if it happened.

AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran called on his aunt VK Sasikala in Bengaludu jail, where she is lodged at present. On her birthday, Dinakaran discussed the party affairs and chalked out the strategy.

“We have sleeper cells who will get active at the appropriate time. I wont disclose my strategies on television,” said a seemingly unruffled Dinarakan to waiting media persons outside the jail.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Palanisami accepted two demands of OPS camp – probe into death of Jayalalithaa and turning her residence into a memorial. The other demand for ouster of Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran from the party and government was started a few days back when EPS “ousted” Dinakaran from the party.

For the first time in several weeks two important ministers – Velumani and Thangamani – called on OPS in the forenoon session and met him at a hospital where his mother was admitted.

The CM held three rounds of meetings with his ministers.

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