Merger talks between the OPS (former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam) and EPS factions (incumbent CM Edappadi K Palaniswami) of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) have hit another roadblock. This time, a photo of three state ministers along with VK Sasikala's husband and her brother has stirred a hornet's nest.
Ministers OS Manian, Kamaraj and Doraikannu attended a prayer meet for Sasikala's deceased nephew TTV Mahadevan, and were spotted alongside Sasikala's husband Natarajan and brother Dhivakaran. Also seen in the picture were 4 MLAs, all of whom maintained that there was no political message to read from their present.
But for the OPS camp, this has thrown up red signals. Panneerselvan has in the recent past stressed that Sasikala Natarajan and her family must be ousted from the party for merger talks to take place, and this picture that's gone viral on social media will strain the already thin binds of the two factions.
'NO PROGRESS TILL THEY SHOW THEY'RE COMMITTED TO OUR DEMAND TO REMOVE SASIKALA'
"The picture is further proof that the EPS camp is yet to take against VK Sasikala and her family, they are yet to meet our demands. So there will be no progress till they show us they are committed to fulfilling our demand to remove Sasikala,' said OPS loyalist Manoj Pandian.
In the last fortnight, the EPS faction has expressed its intent to oust the Mannargudi family, but they're yet to walk the talk. While they did remove Sasikala's posters from the party HQ, one glance at the AIADMK's mouthpiece Dr Namadhu MGR, and its clear that the Sasikala wave is yet to be completely wiped out from the party. So are there still some within the EPS camp who want Sasikala's clan to call the shots?
For now, finance minister Jayakumar's assurance of showing Sasikala and TTV Dinakaran the door is yet to be fulfilled and until then, it looks like the pause button has been pressed firmly by team OPS on merger talks.