A day after rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam said talks on merger of factions led by him and Chief Minister E Palaniswami moved a step forward, Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao today left for Chennai. According to his PRO, Rao- who is also the Governor of Maharashtra- cancelled all his appointments in Mumbai for the day as announcement of merger is on the cards.
Palaniswami will meet top ministers at the AIADMK headquarter wherein a resolution will be passed against VK Sasikala- reportedly not removing the party chief from AIADMK but limiting her role within the party.
The chief minister is then expected to meet Panneerselvam at noon and announce the merger. There are plans of the two leaders visiting the Jaya Memorial later in the day as a mark of respect.
An informal meeting was held at Panneerselvam’s residence on Sunday night, wherein he expressed wish for the merger. Party sources had indicated during the meeting that there may be a meeting at the party headquarters today where decisions could be made by the Palaniswami camp on the question of the “formal expulsion” of Sasikala.
“I had informed that the merger talks are already progressing smoothly. It has progressed one more step. A good decision will be attained shortly as desired by you,” OPS told reporters after the meeting with his party functionaries on Sunday.
Earlier, the MLAs of OPS camp were reportedly unhappy about the merger as it was unlikely that Panneerselvam be made the chief minister. However, the EPS faction allegedly decided to give team OPS prominent roles in the party which later pacified the MLAs.
The merger talks gained momentum after Palaniswami on August 17 announced that a inquiry commission would be set up to probe the death of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her Poes Garden residence would be converted into a memorial. These were the two key demands put forth by the Panneerselvam camp. Though the merger was expected to materialise on Friday night, it did not come through amid reported divergent views among members of the OPS faction.
However, Panneerselvam cleared the air on Sunday, saying a positive result was expected in a day or two. Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister, had revolted against the leadership of jailed party chief Sasikala in February last, causing a split in the party.
The political crisis is definitely nearing an end as EPS agrees to all the conditions put forward by OPS, and the latter categorically reiterating that ‘good news’ will be given in a couple of days. However, the AIADMK regime is not entirely out of trouble as DMK leader MK Stalin released a statement threatening the state government.