SHAH’S 3-DAY VISIT BE­GINS ON AUG 22 DMK, AIADMK Lead­ers Set to Join BJP Soon

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Va­sudha.Venu­gopal@ times­group.com

New Delhi: A num­ber of DMK and AIADMK lead­ers and work­ers are ex­pected to join BJP this month-end when party pres­i­dent Amit Shah vis­it­s­thes­tate.Among­former­min­is­ters likely to join the party is Nainar Na­gen­dran, a former AIADMK in­dus­tries min­is­ter from Thirunelveli who be­longs to the po­lit­i­cally pow­er­ful The­var com­mu­nity.

Shah will ar­rive on a three-day visit to Tamil Nadu on Au­gust 22 and will at­tend party meet­ings in Chen­nai and Coim­bat­ore. Top BJP lead­ers said an over­haul of the state party ma­chin­ery was in the works as Shah wants BJP to be­come more vis­i­ble in the state. More ag­i­ta­tions, just as the one held by the party’s yuva mor­cha re­cently, to ask for hold­ing lo­cal polls and bet­ter qual­ity of teach­ers in gov­ern­ment schools are be­ing planned. Mean­while, the AIADMK-Amma fac­tion led by CM E Palaniswami met at the party head­quar­ters in Chen­nai amid spec­u­la­tion of merger talks with the rebel camp of former CM O Pan­neer­sel­vam.ThoughBJPhas­said it has noth­ing to do with AIADMK, sources­saidase­niorSanghide­o­logue and econ­o­mist and a Union min­is­ter were look­ing at ways of end­ing the fac­tional feud in the party.

“The to­ken ex­clu­sion of Sasikala’s fam­ily from the party won’t work. There­would­benomergerun­lessour main con­di­tions are met, which in­clude ex­pul­sion of Sasikala and her nephew Dhi­nakaran from the party and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into former CM Jay­alalithaa’s death,” a se­nior leader of the OPS camp said. He added OPS was not ready for a pact that would place­hi­monly­be­lowEPSinthep­eck­ing or­der. “There are these re­ports of merger go­ing on but OPS and oth­ers know only he can get the votes, not EPS, though he doesn’t have the sup­port of his party lead­ers now. OPS has not taken part in any of the for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tion talks till now.”

Sources­said­ne­go­tia­tor­sweretry­ing hard to en­sure EPS and OPS fac­tions re­unite. The merger talks were fast­tracked­whenDhi­nakaran­named­his loy­al­ists as party of­fice-bear­ers. The EPS fac­tion felt the ap­point­ments were to con­fuse the ranks.

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