The merger of OPS and EPS factions seems to be getting delayed once again, after the OPS faction set two conditions for the merger.
The OPS faction wants enquiry into the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and ouster of Sasikala, and her family from the AIADMK. The OPS team is not willing to come to the negotiation table without these demands being met.
However, the EPS team continues to ask the OPS faction to come forward for the talks.
Commenting on the merger Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani said, "We are ready for talks with the OPS team. We want to retrieve the two-leaves symbol. We have distanced TTV Dinakaran from the party, respecting the sentiments of the cadre. Though there are affidavits by both the factions, all this will be withdrawn once we unite. We are ready to talk whenever OPS team comes to talk. Both the factions will unite surely."
Meanwhile, the OPS faction of the AIADMK claims that unless the demands are met, there is no point in meeting. "How can we go for talks without the basic demands being met," said KC Palanisamy of the OPS faction.
The EPS-OPS merger rumours started after some ministers met Dinakaran on April 14 and demanded that tainted minister Vijayabhaskar be reprimanded. After Dinakaran's arrest by the Delhi Police, the EPS faction has been more keen on the merger. However, despite forming committees both the factions don't seem to be moving ahead.
India Today spoke to leaders from both the sides and these are the reasons they listed out for the delay:
1. Though OPS faction doesn't call it a primary demand, they want the CM chair which EPS is not willing to give up.
2. EPS has support of around 40 MLAs, of which 10 are hardcore Dinakaran supporters who don't want a merger.
3. EPS team is hoping that if there is support from the BJP, then they can continue the government for the remaining period without OPS.
4. OPS faction, which initially was supported by the BJP, now feels that the party is holding talks simultaneously with EPS as Dinkaran has gone to jail.
5. Minister SP Velumani is keen on a merger
6. There are around 80 MLAs who want the merger of the two factions
7. OPS team is also adamant on demands and not ready to sit for talks without conditions not being met
Talking about the BJP also trying to gain some ground in Tamil Nadu, KC Palanisamy said, "If the AIADMK is divided, the political field in Tamil Nadu should not be shifted between the DMK versus the BJP."
In the last few days, the DMK and the BJP have been hitting out at each other over the anti-Hindi agitation and allegations of selective raids of Tamil Nadu ministers.