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AIADMK merger : OPS, EPS to address media at 11.30 am; Paneerselvam might get finance portfolio

Decks are cleared for the merger of two factions in AIADMK — one led by Chief Minister E Palaniswamy and the other led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam — on Monday.

They also said following the formal announcement of merger, the cabinet may be reshuffled inducting Panneerselvam as the deputy chief minister and some of his faction members. Governor CV Rao (holding additional charge in Tamil Nadu) is expected to be here for the swearing-in. Prior to the merger announcement, the Palaniswamy faction was expected to pass a resolution against AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala.

 As per AIADMK party byelaws, the General Secretary cannot be removed by a resolution passed by a committee or group of office bearers.According to insiders, in order to overcome this hurdle and also to carry out the party affairs, a steering or advisory committee would be formed with representation from the two merging factions.

The decisions of the advisory committee has to be ratified at the general council meeting, said an AIADMK leader.

According to party insiders, one of the moves that is being contemplated is to abolish the post of General Secretary on the pretext that late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa will be the party’s permanent General Secretary. This would be done by amending the party byelaws.

But the main question is can the by-law be amended to take away the only power that a primary member enjoys? As per AIADMK constitution, the party General Secretary is elected directly by the primary members. The party has around 1.5 crore members.

“It is a legal question that has to be deliberated in detail,” C Ponnaian, former finance minister and part of Panneerselvam faction told IANS on Sunday. One of the basic condition laid down by the Panneerselvam camp for merger is that AIADMK should dismiss Sasikala and her family members from the party.

The Palaniswamy faction had declared the appointment of TTV Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, as deputy general secretary as “improper, unacceptable and invalid”. This was challenged by Dinakaran.

Meanwhile following the merger of two factions, the Panneerselvam-Palaniswamy faction may get back the party’s popular “two leaves” symbol which has been frozen by the Election Commission.

“As regards party affairs, Panneerselvam will be the number one and Palaniswamy number two. In the government, Panneerselvam in most probability will be the deputy chief minister,” the leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

“There will be couple of ministerial berths for legislators from our group,” he added. This is the contour of the merger plan the two factions in the AIADMK have agreed upon. The leader also said the government can look into the possibility of reviving the Legislative Council or Upper House of the assembly to accommodate members in the party without showing the door for those now holding posts.

The Upper House in Tamil Nadu was abolished by AIADMK founder and late chief minister MG Ramachandran in 1986. Attempts to revive it by a DMK government were cancelled when the AIADMK came back to power.

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