Former Tamil Nadu chief-minister O. Panneerselvam has announced that the team set up by his faction for holding merger talks with the ruling faction of the AIADMK was being disbanded with immediate effect.
OPS’ announcement nullifies all efforts made so far by various quarters to bring together the two factions of AIADMK led by OPS and incumbent chief-minister Edapadi Palaniswami (EPS). After the untimely demise in last December of the then Tamil Nadu chief-minister O. Panneerselvam, the AIADMK split into two factions when OPS thwarted jailbird Sasikala’s attempt to usurp power by becoming chief-minister.
After Sasikala and Dinakaran landed up in prisons in Bangalore and New Delhi for various reasons, talks of merger of the two factions started doing rounds. In fact, both the factions set-up 7-member teams to hold merger talks as they believed merging the factions was a way to get the ‘Two-Leaves’ symbol allotted to them by the Election Commission. Trouble started brewing with the release of Dinakran from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on conditional bail.
OPS faction had certain pre-conditions such as denouncing Sasikala and Dinakaran and evicting all their family members from the party besides setting up an inquiry commission to probe the mysterious demise of Jayalalithaa for merger talks to commence. Speaking at a public meeting in Tiruverkadu, OPS said yesterday that faction cadres and people didn’t feel the necessity to go out of the way for a merger.
“Wherever I go, I’m told by people, students, youths and cadres that our faction doesn’t need to merge with their ruling faction. Thus, the team set up to hold merger talks stands disbanded today,” OPS said. The ruling faction hadn’t yet reacted to this.