OPS, EPS unite — AIADMK merger

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The effect of such a climbdown by OPS would open up the way for merger between the two major factions of the party, leaving only the Sasikala faction in the cold.

Palaniswami also announced plans to convert former chief minister Jayalilathaa's Poes Garden residence Vedanilayam into a memorial, which, however, was opposed by Jayalilathaa's neice Deepa Jayakumar, who claimed legal rights to the property.

On Thursday, while welcoming the probe announcement, senior leaders K P Munusamy, however, said the merger between the AIADMK factions could happen only when Sasikala and her family are fully ousted from the party. AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi said EPS was elevated to the post of chief minister by Sasikala. EPS, while addressing a press briefing here, said that there will be 11 people in a committee to co-ordinate in the merger. In a resolution on August 10, the chief minister's camp had already delegitimised Deputy general Secretary and Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran setting the stage for a merger.

The sacking of VK Sasikala, who is in a Bengaluru prison in a corruption case, as the party's chief was an important demand of Team OPS for the merger. He also wished Tamil Nadu and said he wishes the state "scales new heights of progress" in the future. Meanwhile, Chief Minister K Palaniswami has left for Tiruvarur in Thanjavur district to take part in the MGR centenary function. It is also expected to go ahead with the merger pact with the O Panneerselvam (OPS) faction.

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Earlier, the leaders of the two factions arrived at the party's head office to announce the merger.

As per a previous Firspost article, "Palaniswamy reportedly expressed his inability to expel Sasikala since she had been elected as an interim general secretary by a general council in December 2016". "We can be sure that the two leaders (OPS, EPS) will put all their bitterness aside and move ahead with positive measures to seal the unification rather than allow the wounds to fester and permit trouble-makers to play mischief", he said.

The factions had broken off due to disagreements that rose up following the demise of AIADMK chief Jayaram Jayalalithaa past year. Later both leaders paid homage at Jayalalithaa Samadhi from where OPS launched his revolt after meditating there on the night of February 7.

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