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AIADMK merger imminent as Amma faction challenges Dhinakaran, Sasikala's appointment

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam arrives in New Delhi for Venkaiah Naidu's oath taking ceremony on August 11. Photograph: (ANI)

WION Web Team Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Aug 10, 2017, 10.57 AM (IST)

The merger of the two AIADMK camps seems increasingly likely after the AIADMK Amma faction Thursday (August 10) challenged the appointment of their chief Sasikala and her nephew Dhinakaran's appointment to the party's top posts.

Formally expelling both Sasikala and Dhinakaran is a pre-condition for a merger set by the faction led by former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS).

The AIADMK merger is being brought about by the BJP-led central government, media reports said.

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Panneerselvam and his successor E Palaniswami arrived in capital New Delhi Thursday evening for vice-president elect Venkaiah Naidu's oath-taking ceremony tomorrow.

They are expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow.

The BJP is keen to expand its foothold in Tamil Nadu and sees a united AIADMK as a challenge to the DMK, the reports added.

The AIADMK Amma leaders held earlier in the day that Sasikala's appointment as general secretary was temporary and till such time a new general secretary was elected as per party laws.

They said Sasikala's appointment had been challenged and was pending before the Election Commission.

A meeting presided over by Chief Minister K Palaniswami held that the appointment of Dhinakaran was against party rules. Dhinakaran has been functioning as the de-facto chief of the AIADMK ever since Sasikala, a close aide of former chief minister Jayalalithaa, was jailed in a disproportionate assets case.

The move is being perceived as a step closer to a merger of the two camps by easing out Sasikala and Dhinakaran.

The Panneerselvam camp wants OPS to be the party chief and the chief minister, a position he filled-in for Jayalalithaa when she went to jail.

A communique to the AIADMK Amma party cadres Thursday asked them to reject appointments made by Dhinakaran. 

Top functionaries and senior state cabinet ministers led by Palaniswami attended the meeting.

This is the first time that Chief Minister Palaniswami has challenged Dhinakaran's appointment to the top post by Sasikala just ahead of her incarceration in February.

The AIADMK Amma questioned the new appointments made by Dhinakaran at a time when his own appointment was under the scrutiny of the Election Commission.

Dhinakaran had appointed several of his loyalists to various party posts on August 4.

The communique to the AIADMK Amma members stated appointments made by Dhinakaran "will not bind any AIADMK cadre to create unnecessary confusion in our party and such appointments are not valid under party law. Cadres are requested to reject them."

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