While this is a significant step in healing the rift with the breakaway faction led by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS), senior leaders in the breakaway faction described the resolution as a half measure. The merger talks were fasttracked when Dhinakaran named his loyalists as party office-bearers.
The merger would allow Chief Minister Palaniswami to continue in his position while leader of the rebel faction and former CM O Paneerselvam may be given charge as Deputy Chief Minister and crucial portfolios such as finance.
The resolution, however, stopped short of expelling him and Sasikala from the party, which is one of the main pre-condition of the OPS camp for the merger. The Panneerselvam faction now has the backing of 10 MLAs, down from 12 in February after two legislators moved back to the Palaniswamy camp.
It was Sasikala who had appointed Dhinakaran, her nephew, as her deputy in the party, it further said. 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.
The group said that consequently, Dinakaran had no power to appoint any office-bearer. Dhinakaran said the same leaders who were now talking against them were the ones who had campaigned for him in the RK Nagar bypoll which was subsequently cancelled.
The AIADMK had 134 MLAs in the 232-member Assembly.
The factions have been facing pressure to merge from the ruling BJP in New Delhi. "How can they use the AIADMK letterhead when there is a restraining order from the Election Commission?"
Dhinakaran has faced a challenge from senior AIADMK leaders ever since he was was named deputy general secretary by his aunt Sasikala, who is now lodged in a Bengaluru prison after being convicted in the disproportionate assets case. "They will definitely pay for this kind of back stabbing", Dinakaran told reporters.
The merger will finally be announced publically by the Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswamy after his meeting with O Panneerselvam. "We want Sasikala removed from the party and a probe ordered into the death of our leader Jayalalithaa", he reiterated. Fighting under one symbol will hep both the parties in the upcoming local body elections in Tamil Nadu.