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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.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:August 18, 2017, 6:44 PM IST
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Only 3 MLAs Attend Dinakaran Meeting as OPS, EPS Inch Closer to Merger
File photo of O Panneerselvam (left) and E Palaniswami. (PTI)
Chennai: Problems for beleaguered AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran don't seem to be getting over as only 3 of the 19 MLAs loyal to him and VK Sasikala attended the meeting called by the deputy general secretary of AIADMK.

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.

In a show of strength earlier this week in Madurai, 19 MLAs had shared the stage with Dinakaran. On Friday, apart from 3 MLAs, only a handful of other ministers were among the attendees.

As far as the merger goes, what now remains to be sorted is the nitty-gritty of the truce.

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

Sources in the OPS camp indicate he is likely to head the party and EPS will remain the Chief Minister.

Panneerselvam has so far failed to show majority support in the legislature party.

Despite ordering a judicial probe into J Jayalalithaa's death and issuing orders to convert the late CM's Poes Garden residence into a memorial, Palaniswami so far has not publically attacked TTV Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew.

Dinakaran had earlier this week held a rally at Melur near Madurai where 19 MLAs shared dais with him.

The message to both camps was clear — that he had enough numbers to bring down the government. However, Friday's tepid response to his meeting came as a big setback to the Sasikala camp.

Sources in both camps accept that the BJP-led Centre played a larger role in bringing the two factions together in the face of the show of strength by Sasikala and family.

A section of the AIADMK claims that Palaniswami is now under pressure and has extended an olive branch to Panneerselvam.

Panneerselvam has called a meeting of elected representatives and office-bearers of his faction on Friday evening to discuss merger talks.

Meanwhile, legal heirs of Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence, which will be converted into a memorial, will be given compensation, Law Minister Shanmugam said.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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