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2-min read

EPS-OPS Merger: Curtains Set To Come Down On Sasikala Family

The Palaniswami camp has “relieved” TTV Dinakaran of the responsibilities of deputy general secretary and invalidates his appointments.

Poornima Murali, Pallavi Ghosh

Updated:August 10, 2017, 5:39 PM IST

Chennai/New Delhi: In a renewed attempt at merger, the two rival AIADMK factions are talking again in what is also being seen as a part of efforts to jettison party general secretary VK Sasikala and her family.

In this latest round of churning, the first move at rapprochement was made by camp considered close to Chief Minister E Palaniswami (EPS). In a sudden development, the EPS camp passed a resolution rejecting appointment of Dinakaran as Sasikala’s deputy.

Sasikala, who is currently serving a sentence in a corruption case, had handed over reins of the party to nephew TTV Dinakaran just after her conviction.

The fast-changing developments is Tamil Nadu are being seen as a coup of sorts against Sasikala. It could be the final move to bring down curtains on the family.

This was also believed to be one of the conditions which the BJP at the Centre could look at before it wants to go ahead with a possible tie-up with the AIADMK in the future.

Sources told News18 that a high-profile central minister, who is in touch with AIADMK leaders, told rival factions to bury the hatchet — a precondition which the BJP may have set for alliance talks. The BJP does not want to deal with Sasikala and her family while building an alliance in the southern state.

One of the groups led by former CM O Panneerselvam (OPS) has had good equations with the Centre. But EPS’s proximity to Sasikala and the fact that he was chosen by her has been a matter of concern for the BJP.

A formula now under consideration entails:

— EPS will continue as CM; OPS will be deputy CM and party general secretary

— Two of OPS’s lieutenants, K Pandiarajan and S Semmalai may get Cabinet berths

— EPS may drop two ministers from his present team to accommodate OPS nominees in the Cabinet

A source said a formal announcement is expected after OPS calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Since the appointment of VK Sasikala as general secretary is under dispute before the EC, the EPS-OPS combine will have to wait for the Commission’s order before formalising party posts.

These developments suit the BJP’s southern mission. The AIADMK combine has 50 MPs and this would certainly help the BJP in Rajya Sabha. More importantly, ahead of the next Lok Sabah polls an entry into south helps the BJP to take on DMK-Congress combine.

But for the AIADMK, all this is easier said than done. Over the years, Dravidian parties have attempted to maintain an independent regional identity vis-a-vis national parties and DMK leader MK Stalin may use this to his advantage.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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