AIADMK merger likely today: EPS, OPS to release joint statement; VK Sasikala may be formally expelled

The long awaited merger of the two major factions of the AIADMK — one led by Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswamy and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam — is likely to be announced on Monday, according to media reports.

Party officials have said that following the formal announcement of merger, the Cabinet may be reshuffled inducting Panneerselvam as the deputy chief minister and some of his faction members.

According to News18, a joint statement by Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam will be released at AIADMK headquarters in Chennai at noon. 

As the talks on merger of the two factions have gone on, Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao has also left for Chennai.

Governor CV Rao  is expected to be in Chennai for the swearing in. Prior to the merger announcement, the Palaniswamy faction was expected to pass a resolution against AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala.

As per AIADMK party bylaws, the general secretary cannot be removed by a resolution passed by a committee or group of office bearers.

According to insiders, in order to overcome this hurdle and also to carry out the party affairs, a steering or advisory committee would be formed with representation from the two merging factions.

The decisions of the advisory committee has to be ratified at the general council meeting, said an AIADMK leader.

According to party insiders, one of the moves that is being contemplated is to abolish the post of general secretary on the pretext that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa will be the party's permanent general secretary.

This would be done by amending the party byelaws.

But the main question is can the by-law be amended to take away the only power that a primary member enjoys?

As per AIADMK constitution, the party general secretary is elected directly by the primary members. The party has around 1.5 crore members.

"It is a legal question that has to be deliberated in detail," C Ponnaian, former finance minister and part of Panneerselvam faction told IANS on Sunday.

One of the basic condition laid down by the Panneerselvam camp for merger is that AIADMK should dismiss Sasikala and her family members from the party.

The Palaniswamy faction had declared the appointment of TTV Dinakaran, Sasikala's nephew, as deputy general secretary as "improper, unacceptable and invalid". This was challenged by Dinakaran.

Meanwhile following the merger of two factions, the Panneerselvam-Palaniswamy faction may get back the party's popular "two leaves" symbol which has been frozen by the Election Commission.

"As regards party affairs, Panneerselvam will be the number one and Palaniswamy number two. In the government, Panneerselvam in most probability will be the Deputy Chief Minister," the leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

"There will be couple of ministerial berths for legislators from our group," he added.

This is the contour of the merger plan the two factions in the AIADMK have agreed upon.

The leader also said the government can look into the possibility of reviving the legislative council of the assembly to accommodate members in the party without showing the door for those now holding posts.

The upper house in Tamil Nadu was abolished by AIADMK founder and late chief minister MG Ramachandran in 1986. Attempts to revive it by a DMK government were cancelled when the AIADMK came back to power.

With inputs from IANS.

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Updated Date: Aug 21, 2017 15:45 PM

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