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CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, OPS move closer to merger to checkmate TTV Dhinakaran, Sasi family

10 August, 2017 12:31 AM
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A source said a formal announcement is expected after OPS calls on PM Modi later this week. OPS is flying along with his core team to Delhi on Thursday night to attend M Venkaiah Naidu’s swearing-in as the vice-president on Friday

CHENNAI: Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam are on the verge of merging the two AIADMK factions to take on T T V Dhinakaran, sources on both sides have confirmed.

Here is the formula being worked out: EPS will continue as CM; OPS will be deputy CM and party general secretary. Two of OPS's lieutenants, Mafoi K Pandiarajan and Semmalai, may get cabinet berths. For this, EPS may drop two ministers from his present team.

A source said a formal announcement is expected after OPS calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week. OPS is flying along with his core team to Delhi on Thursday night to attend M Venkaiah Naidu's swearing-in as the vice-president on Friday. K P Munusamy, Manoj Pandian and Natham Viswanathan will accompany OPS. V Maitreyan, who is in Delhi, will join them to meet Modi.

Since the appointment of V K Sasikala as general secretary is under dispute before the Election Commission of India, the EPS-OPS combine will have to wait for the commission's order before formalising party posts.

Palaniswami, meanwhile, has convened a meeting of senior party functionaries - mostly ministers and MLAs - on Thursday to chalk out strategies to counter TTV. The OPS camp is also pitching for a re-entry of the unified AIADMK into the NDA at the Centre, after a gap of 18 years. With 50 MPs in Parliament, the party's support will be crucial for the BJP government. In the bargain, the party looks for securing a handful of Union cabinet berths to take on the resurgent DMK.

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Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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