AIADMK merger may not come through by Aug. 15

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The much-awaited reunion of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK-Amma), led by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma), led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, is unlikely to come through before August 15 — the time frame reportedly set by the ruling camp.

Though Mr. Palaniswami returned to Chennai on Friday night from New Delhi after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his key Ministers are in their respective districts and likely to return to Chennai only on Tuesday. Mr. Panneerselvam, who, like Mr. Palaniswami, took part in the swearing-in ceremony of Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi, visited Shirdi on a pilgrimage on Saturday. He is expected to return to the city on Sunday evening.

When asked why Mr. Panneerselvam had not met Mr. Modi, K. P. Munusamy, former Minister and senior leader of the AIADMK (PTA), replied that there was “no need” for a meeting between the two. .

Meanwhile, T.T.V. Dhinakaran, the deputy general secretary of the AIADMK (Amma) – though recently discredited by Mr. Palaniswami’s team – will be launching his State-wide tour on Monday by addressing a meeting in Melur, Madurai. There were reports in sections of the media a few days ago that Mr. Panneerselvam would be made Deputy Chief Minister, besides being accommodated as the head of a supervisory committee to run the affairs of the party..

After a group of office-bearers of the AIADMK (Amma) adopted a resolution on Thursday, formally disowning Mr. Dhinakaran, the differences between the deputy general secretary and the camp led by the Chief Minister became wide.

Preconditions remain

Even though the adoption of the resolution is generally seen as a step towards reunion, it has not satisfied the AIADMK (PTA), which is firm on its original two conditions: expulsion of jailed interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala and her family from the party and an official probe into the circumstances leading to the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Meanwhile, the focus has turned to the Melur meeting. “We are making every effort to ensure that the event turns out as a grand success,” says R. Samy, a supporter of Mr. Dhinakaran and three-time legislator. He hopes that the meeting will reinvigorate workers of the party as no party function has taken place in recent months.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dhinakaran has dismissed reports that he had sought an appointment with Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao.

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