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AIADMK Live: Merger of EPS, OPS Camps Likely, Second Round of Talks Underway | August 18, 2017, 11:19 PM IST
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The E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam-led factions have gone into a huddle, chalking out the future of the AIADMK, a day after the Tamil Nadu government announced a probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

Sources told CNN-News18 that the formal announcement could come any moment.
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Aug 18, 2017 9:42 pm (IST)

AIADMK merger on hold

The final word coming from the OPS camp is that there would be no announcement on the merger today as they hold out on their demands. The press conference has been cancelled, sources have told CNN-News18. 

Aug 18, 2017 9:37 pm (IST)

Sources have told News18 that the roadblock in the merger announcement could be because of a last minute demand from Panneerselvam. With the support of just 10 MLAs as against EPS’s 122, he wants to have the final word on party matters. Sources say EPS camp is unlikely to give him the veto power. 

Aug 18, 2017 9:29 pm (IST)
Aug 18, 2017 9:27 pm (IST)
No EPS-OPS joint statement

OPS camp has ruled out a joint statement with the EPS faction. Panneerselvam is trying to make sure all MLAs are on biard with the merger. Second round of talks between the two groups is underway.      

Aug 18, 2017 9:24 pm (IST)

According to sources, the hiccup in the merger talks has been caused by OPS aide KP Munusamy and three MLAs. They say everything they have stood for till now will be compromised and the OPS team will lose credibility. Earlier in the day, sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran had downplayed the expected merger of both the factions and said it would not last long.

Aug 18, 2017 9:20 pm (IST)
Aug 18, 2017 9:12 pm (IST)

Members of the two factions leave after the meeting. Announcement of the merger expected shortly.

Aug 18, 2017 9:08 pm (IST)

Late night drama in Chennai as sources say that three members of the OPS camp have refused to support the merger of the two factions, throwing a spanner in the works. Members leaving the meeting evaded the media. Sources say the friction could have been caused over the OPS faction’s demand of the general secretary post.

Aug 18, 2017 9:02 pm (IST)

After a long meeting that lasted for over four hours, word from the OPS camp is that they have given their thumbs up for the deal. Panneerselvam is likely to attend a press conference soon. Ministers and legislators from the EPS camp are now heading to the memorial of Jayalalithaa.

Aug 18, 2017 8:08 pm (IST)

The Numbers Game in Tamil Nadu

The AIADMK power tussle will have interesting consequences for the Tamil Nadu assembly. While the effective strength of the assembly is 234, 232 MLAs are eligible to vote. Of this, AIADMK has 134 legislators. The magic figure is 117.

CM Palanisami has the support of 122 MLAs, while 11 support the OPS camp. Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran claims the support of 20 MLAs. If he decides to pull support and all the MLAs follow suit, AIADMK would be left with only 114 MLAs (134 – 20 = 114), falling 3 short of the magic figure.

Aug 18, 2017 7:56 pm (IST)

Why BJP is trying to unite the two factions

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the merger, when it goes through, will be the BJP. Jayalalithaa’s death was a blow to the NDA government. Despite not being a member of the alliance, the AIADMK led by her was a reliable ally on many issues, both inside and outside parliament. Amma also shared a good rapport with PM Narendra Modi since his Gujarat days. BJP’s attempt to convince OPS and EPS faction to merge is seen by many as it’s a desperate attempt to stop political rivals - DMK & Cong) from taking advantage of the "fluid situation" in the state.

Aug 18, 2017 7:46 pm (IST)

Former CM J Jayalalithaa's memorial has been adorned with flowers for the merger announcement. (Photo: Twitter)

Aug 18, 2017 7:37 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Only 3 MLAs Attend Dinakaran Meeting as OPS, EPS Inch Closer to Merger

One of the critical issues that would need to be settled before the merger is who gets the leadership of the party.

Aug 18, 2017 7:29 pm (IST)

Sources say that both OPS and EPS are going to Marina Beach to visit Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai. The memorial has been decked up for the announcement. 

Aug 18, 2017 7:26 pm (IST)

The Panneerselvam faction had laid three conditions for an AIADMK merger: keeping out Sasikala and her family members, ordering a judicial probe into the death of Jayalalithaa and converting Jayalalithaa's residence into a memorial.  The Palaniswami faction claims that the major demands of Panneerselvam faction have been met after Thursday's announcement. 

Aug 18, 2017 7:23 pm (IST)

The AIADMK has been split into three factions after Jayalalithaa's death in December last year. The first to revolt against the party's General Secretary and now jailed V.K. Sasikala was Panneerselvam.  The other two factions that emerged later are led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and Deputy General Secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran, a nephew of Sasikala. 

Aug 18, 2017 7:18 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | Towards a United AIADMK: What Prompted EPS to Act With Urgency?

Was it that TTV Dinakaran held a hugely successful rally that has sent left both OPS and EPS worried? Or were there other compulsions?

Aug 18, 2017 7:15 pm (IST)

The Tamil Nadu CM had cleared the decks for the merger on Thursday by accepting two major conditions for the merger laid down by the OPS camp. The Tamil Nadu Government had announced a probe by a retired High Court judge into the death of the late Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, over which suspicions were raised by the rebel camp. Palaniswami also announced that the late AIADMK supremo’s Poes Garden residence will be turned into a memorial.

Aug 18, 2017 7:09 pm (IST)

The VK Sasikala camp seems to have lost the majority of its support. A meeting called by Sasikala’s nephew and AIADMK leader, TTV Dinakaran, was attended by only 3 MLAs loyal to him and the self-styled Chinamma. This comes after Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami, in the last 24 hours, indirectly distanced himself from the VK Sasikala-led camp, indicating that the Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam factions were inching closer to a merger. 

Aug 18, 2017 7:07 pm (IST)

The points of final negotiations still being worked out:

- EPS to continue as CM, OPS will join the government.

- OPS will head the 7 member committee which will run the party till the election of the next general secretary.

- OPS likely to be formally elected the next general secretary.

Aug 18, 2017 7:04 pm (IST)

TN chief minister EK Palaniswami is currently closeted with his cabinet colleagues to deliberate on the matter. The rival camp led by O Panneerselvam is holding its own meeting in Chennai.

Aug 18, 2017 7:04 pm (IST)
OPS likely to be deputy CM

Sources have told CNN-News18 that the merger could be announced later night and O Panneerselvam may be made the deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Buzz in political circles is that both EPS and OPS may go to Amma Samadhi to pay respects and formally announce the unification.

Aug 18, 2017 7:01 pm (IST)

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam is expected to announce his decision on the merger of the two rival factions of AIADMK shortly. The EPS and OPS camps went into a huddle today to chalk out the future course of action, a day after the Tamil Nadu government announced a probe into the death of J Jayalalithaa.

AIADMK Live: Merger of EPS, OPS Camps Likely, Second Round of Talks Underway
File photo of O Panneerselvam (left) and EK Palaniswami. (PTI)

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