With Sasikala out, Panneerselvam ready to talk, AIADMK merger process begins

Edappadi Palanisamy is likely to continue as the Chief Minister while Panneerselvam will be at the helm of affairs of the party as its chief.

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With the Mannargudi family out of the picture, the two factions of the AIADMK have agreed to talk about a merger. Panneerselvam scored big in round one compelling the Edappadi Palanisamy camp to yield to his demands of Sasikala and family's ouster. While it may seem like it was a victory for Panneerselvam, Edappadi has a lot to gain from it as well. By conceding to Panneerselvam's demands, Edappadi team just piled up their bargaining powers. With this, the team will lobby for Edappadi to remain as the Chief Minister.

File Photo of Panneerselvam and Sasikala

Panneerselvam aims to head the party as its general secretary. A cabinet post for himself and his aide Mafoi Pandiarajan is what Panneerselvam expects. Sources suggest that the teams may agree to let Panneerselvam run the party while Edappadi runs the government. A cabinet seat to Mafoi may be extended but the same can't be said for Panneerselvam. OPS has been the Chief minister earlier and has proved himself during the Vardah floods as a capable head of state. This comes as a threat to Edappadi even if he remains the Chief Minister but inducts Panneerselvam into the cabinet.

The fear of a dual power centre haunts the AIADMK even before it unites to once again become a single undivided party. With at least 7 MLAs standing firm by Dinakaran, another floor test may come as a challenge to the party. The bargain is going to be hard. Edappadi Palanisamy may want his numbers intact while Panneerselvam is likely to tug for cabinet berths for MLAs who stood by him after he rebelled against Sasikala. The merger talks will first have to sort the egos before arriving at a compromise formula.

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