Final Call on Merger With AIADMK Expected Soon, Says OPS

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Final Call on Merger With AIADMK Expected Soon, Says OPS

The much-anticipated merger between the two groups was put on hold on Friday night after divisions in the faction led by OPS delayed the talks.

Chennai, August 19:  Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said on Saturday that the decision on the merger of his faction with AIADMK’s E Palanyswamy faction will be announced in a couple of days. He said that the talks for the merger were going on smoothly.

“The talks on the merger are going on smoothly and in one or two days a concrete decision will be taken. A merger will be as per the wishes of the people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party cadres,” he said.

OPS said that there are no differences within the faction and confirmed that they will move forward on the path set by MGR and Jayalalithaa.

Team OPS has made it clear that while they are not pressing for their leader to return as Tamil Nadu chief minister, the current CM E Palaniswami or EPS, is also acceptable to them in the top post in the government.

Some reports also said that the OPS-EPS merger talks on Friday were premature, signaling that differences still remain. The much-anticipated merger between the two groups was put on hold on Friday night after divisions in the faction led by OPS delayed the talks.

Several leaders of the OPS faction including KP Munusamy, Manoj Pandian, V Maitreyan and ‘Natham’ Viswanathan argued that people and cadre are with them and there was no need for a merger of the two groups.

Some reports indicated that there were “some ticklish issues that were to be addressed by both groups.

Meanwhile, sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran held deliberations with supporters at his residence here.

Dhinakaran, who spoke to reporters yesterday after meeting his aunt and party general secretary V K Sasikala at a Bengaluru jail on her birthday yesterday, had downplayed the expected merger of the AIADMK factions saying it would not have any longevity and that it was not a ‘setback’ to him.

Amid speculation of an imminent merger of the two factions, several AIADMK MLAs of both the groups had congregated at the mausoleum of Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach here.

Police personnel were deployed in a large number at the memorial with members of the public who wanted to offer their respects to Jayalalithaa fondly called as “Amma” (Mother) being prevented from entering the burial site.

Two special wreaths were also kept ready apparently to enable Palaniswami and Panneerselvam to offer their respects at the burial site.

After it became clear that the merger talks would be deferred, the wreaths were removed and the public was allowed to enter the burial site later.

(With inputs from PTI)