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Team Palaniswami to welcome Paneerselavam

The chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami-led faction of the AIADMK is likely to meet on Monday to pass a resolution nullifying the appointment of party general secretary V K Sasikala and thereby cement a merger pact with the O Panneerselvam group.

Sources in the EPS camp said all headquarters office bearers of the AIADMK-Amma have been directed to remain in Chennai for a likely meeting at the party headquarters. Until Sunday night, however, there was no official announcement about such a meeting.

The meeting could be announced at short notice on Monday morning.

A few senior leaders said that the possible agenda was the passing of a resolution to nullify Sasikala’s appointment, a key demand of the O Panneerselvam faction to proceed towards a merger. On August 10, office-bearers of AIADMK-Amma, led by Palaniswami, had passed a resolution cancelling the appointment of T T V Dhinakaran as party deputy general secretary as the first step to oust the Sasikala clan from the party.

In Rajapalayam in Virudunagar district, rebel leader Panneerselvam said talks were progressing satisfactorily.

Panneerselvam, who was on his way to pay tribute to freedom fighter Ondiveeran at his memorial, said, “I am confident the merger will happen soon.” The OPS camp is scheduled to meet on Monday. Member of the OPS faction C Ponnaiyan said that the removal of Dhinakaran as deputy general secretary was signed by 27 out of 33 office bearers at the party headquarters.

In the case of Sasikala, the executive committee’s decision has to be ratified by the general council. “And, in the absence of a general secretary, the by-laws permit the setting up of a steering committee to oversee party affairs until a new general secretary is elected by all 1.6 crore members of the party, which will take time to complete,” said Ponnaiyan.

Post-merger, the party affairs will be run by a 15-member steering committee, with the EPS camp getting eight slots and the OPS team seven, leaders said. Panneerselvam will be the chairman of the committee and he will be assisted by three deputy chairmen Palaniswami, P Vaithilingam (from EPS camp) and K P Munusamy (OPS supporter).

“The OPS camp is insisting that he be made the sole signatory for all party affairs. The other camp wanted both sides together to sign all documents. But there is no scope for it. That’s why the insistence,” said a senior leader, seeking anonymity. In Chennai, Dhinakaran supporter Nanjil Sampath slammed the two factions saying they were “staging the merger drama scared of the support from cadres for Dhinakaran at the Melur public meeting”.

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