A day after the warring AIADMK factions appeared to hit a roadblock over the merger, the two camps announced the formation of a committee to hold talks. This even as speculation mounted that a compromise formula had been arrived at by both camps.
Sources say, according to talks now, Edappadi Palaniswami is likely to remain the Chief Minister while former CM O Panneerselvam will be given the post of General Secretary and 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.
While back channel talks are underway between both factions, sources also say that former minister Mafoi Pandiarajan is also likely to be given a cabinet berth, with speculation that he may replace CVe Shanmugam as the Law Minister.
Friday began with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami holding a meeting at the party headquarters in Chennai with senior leaders in the AIADMK including ministers SP Velumani, Thangamani, CVe Shanmugam, D Jayakumar, Sengottiyan among others. Following the meeting, the ruling faction announced that a seven-member committee headed by Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam had been constituted. Those on the panel include Dindigul Sreenivasan, Sengottiyan, D Jayakumar, CVe Shanmugam, SP Velumani and Thangamani.
Speaking to reporters following the two-hour meeting, SP Velumani, Local Administration Minister said, “We are inviting them for the talks, we are ready for it. We don't want to speak anything which will obstruct the merger possibility. We don't have any conditions from our side.Their conditions will be discussed during the talks.”
Meanwhile, at former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s Greenways Road residence a meeting was held with his senior leaders. This after the OPS camp on Thursday accused the ruling faction of staging a drama in the disguise of a merger, and demanded the resignation of General Secretary VK Sasikala and Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran.
Veteran leader KP Munusamy, who had earlier sounded defiant, on Friday announced that a committee had been set up to initiate talks with EPS’ faction.
“The talks are on the positive way. Our committee will discuss with their committee once it's formed. We are getting a positive response from them to accept our demands. They've given positive response for evicting Sasikala and family from the party, the other demands will be discussed during the meeting which will start soon,” Former minister Mafoi Pandiarajan told the media.