The possibility of a merger between the two factions of the AIADMK appears to be growing slimmer with each passing day, as it becomes evident that the leaders are just not on the same page. On May Day, former CM O Panneerselvam questioned the other faction over their alleged unwillingness to sideline VK Sasikala, even as Deputy Speaker Thambidurai claimed, at a seperate event, that this was not a point of contention.
Panneerselvam, during a May Day celebration and public meeting in Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, claimed that his faction was focused on unraveling the mystery around Jayalalithaa's death. He further demanded that a CBI enquiry be initiated. Making it clear that merger talks were not going as planned, the former CM claimed that the other faction cannot be trusted and thus discussions were being delayed.
This statement comes after CM Edappadi Palaniswami met with AIADMK district secretaries over three days last week, asking them to submit affidavits to the Election Commission in support of the appointment of VK Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran.
OPS alleged that TTV tried to buy over voters in RK Nagar and the peopleās will got him sidelined from the party. But this attempt to collect signatures in his support, he claims, tells another story.
Meanwhile, Deputy speaker Thambidurai, at a public meeting in Karur, questioned why O Panneerselvam who remained Chief Minister for four months, during Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and after her death, did not initiate a probe then. Thambidurai sent out a strong message to the OPS faction, declaring that Edappadi Palaniswami was CM now. He further added that no advice was sought from Chinnamma on how to run the party.
Merger talks between the two factions seems to be on the verge of a complete collapse as the fight for the CM's post continues. Both OPS and EPS are, according to sources, staking claim to the chair.
As reported by The News Minute last week, one of the formulas proposed was that Palaniswami remain CM while OPS would be given the post of General Secretary in the party together with the Finance portfolio. However, some of the hardliners in the OPS camp are unhappy with the formula and want him to be made General Secretary and Chief Minister.
As of now, the only factor uniting the two factions seems to be their unwillingness to let the DMK take advantage of their internal rift.