Eye on merger, Edappadi K Palaniswami distances party from Sasikala, Dhinakaran

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In what is being seen as the process of removing the Sasikala clan from the party, the AIADMK (Amma) faction led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami declared on Thursday that TTV Dinakaran, the deputy general secretary of the party, is not authorised to make any appointment and his decisions were not binding on the party. A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Palaniswamy at the party headquarters in Royapettah chose to overrule the elevation of Sasikala's nephew as party deputy general secretary as null and void.

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

Using the IPC section 420 to label the Chief Minister a "cheat", the former Rajya Sabha MP stated, "Misuse of the AIADMK letterhead is forgery and cheating".

The presence of Dinakaran and Sasikala in key party positions remains the sticking point between the two factions, according to reports in the media.

KC Veeramani, Minister in Palaniswami Cabinet, said that both the factions of the AIADMK would merge soon and it may materialise within the next couple of days. Chief Minister informed that the merger plan has been given by TTV Dhinakaran who is the party's Deputy General Secretary. The BJP stands to gain at the state in return in the future elections with the assistance of the AIADMK, the largest party, and also the presence of the iconic actor Rajinikanth.

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Members noted Dhinakaran's name wasn't on the list of office bearers appointed by Jayalalithaa and submitted to the EC. The merger will also add two of Panneerselvam's followers into the council of ministers of Tamil Nadu.

"He believes no action would be taken against him because of this threat", a senior AIADMK (Amma) leader said. Recently, Dinakaran had rewarded 20 MLAs with party posts for supporting the government. This is meant to make a meeting between Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvam possible. "Otherwise, we will be left without the "Two Leaves" symbol", he said. Sasikala moved into Jayalalithaa's house at Poes garden in 1988, soon after MGR's death and soon took over as her housekeeper, confidante and poltical aide.

But the resolution has met with strong criticism from Dhinakaran's supporters, who rule out any question of a reconciliation or expulsion.

Panneerselvam, who claims Jayalalithaa (Amma) told him to take over as CM when she was in hospital, said her spirit later told him that he should come out and tell the truth to the people of Tamil Nadu.

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