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24 May 2019, Edition - 1410, Friday

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Coimbatore

Back channel talks for merger of AIADMK factions on

Covai Post Network

OPS group maintains that finalisation of merger is still some distance away and deny suggestions to the effect that modalities of merger were already finalized.

Chennai: Speculation is once again rife that back channel talks for unification of the two warring factions of AIADMK – led by chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam – cutting out Sasikala-Dinakaran from the dispensation are nearing finalisation.

According to the sources in the know of things, Edapaddi Palanisami will continue to be the chief minister and OPS would likely to head the party, assume the all important post of general secretary, currently held by jailed leader VK Sasikala. Nether has she given up her post nor has her nephew distanced self from party affairs, insisting that he has some 30 MLAs under this command.

Given the current political scenario, with the DMK waiting in the wings to cash in on any weakness on part of the ruling dispensation, the AIADMK MLAs are loath to upset the applecart and are said to be wanting to avoid polls at any cost. Which is why, the current dispensation will remain in saddle and every MLA is committed to this.

This is also the reason why all the MLAs, even those supporting Dinakaran, were present in the same hall to welcome presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind when he came calling to canvass for their support. Dinakaran is said to be supported by some 30 MLAs, but when push comes to shove, not more than a handful could be seen standing with him.

He also knows this and is trying to see how best he can still stay relevant.

It is in this backdrop that talks between the two factions of AIADMK, that were stalled and failed after few rounds, are now being held but behind the scenes informally.

Even state finance minister D Jayakumar maintains that talks were being held and the progress was satisfactory.

Merger would happen but exactly when it is difficult to say.

When media persons asked him how were talks being held after OPS disbanded the negotiating team, the finance minister said “that is a separate issue, but talks were being held.”

Team OPS in the meanwhile distanced itself from any talk of imminent merger.

OSP group leader K P Munusamy said “there was an attempt to confuse the people and that no decision on merger was taken.”

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