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Tamil Nadu govt announces probe into Jayalalithaa’s death

LiveMint logoLiveMint 17-08-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that an enquiry commission will be constituted under a retired judge to probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

The development comes at a time when the speculated merger of AIADMK factions, led by Palaniswami and former Tamil Nadu CM O. Panneerselvam, has hit a roadblock.

Palaniswami also announced that Jayalalithaa’s Vedha Nilayam residence in Poes Garden will be converted into a memorial.

“Delighted to welcome 2 key moves by #EPS to set up judicial enquiry into Amma’s expiry & to convert Veda nilayam into memorial,” tweeted former Tamil Nadu minister K. Pandiarajan, who belongs to the Panneerselvam faction.

He also said that it is “time to transparently negotiate merger”.

Panneerselvam, who broke away from the AIADMK in February, after V.K. Sasikala decided to take over as the chief minister of the state, has been making two demands—to oust Sasikala and her family from party affairs and to initiate an inquiry into Jayalalithaa’s death.

Earlier this month, after T.T.V. Dhinakaran, the sidelined deputy general secretary of the party, appointed new office-bearers to the party, Palaniswami and 27 office bearers signed a resolution opposing the appointment of Dhinakaran as deputy general secretary, a move that put the party’s rival factions on a merger path.

But Dhinakaran, with his supporters, has been making it hard for both the factions. On Monday, he held his first public meeting near Madurai to commemorate AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran’s birth centenary.

For the Palaniswami government, which is surviving on a wafer thin majority of six MLAs, Dhinakaran sharing the dias with 20 Tamil Nadu MLAs sends out a strong signal.

Dhinakaran said that the chief minister was trying to prevent MLAs from participating in the meeting and added that the MLAs were being “held captive in Chennai”. He also lashed out at Panneerselvam and said that those who are demanding CBI inquiry into Jayalalithaa’s death “should first realize that they were the ones who were in important positions (in the government) when Amma (Jayalalithaa) was hospitalized.”

It has been said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre has been trying to mediate between the two factions of the AIADMK. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam have been meeting PM Narendra Modi, with their latest meetings being this week.

Panneerselvam, after meeting Modi in New Delhi on Monday, said that he discussed the political situation and the functioning of the Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu.

National Secretary of the BJP tweeted: “The two conditions put by Mr. OPS that Mannargudi group (Sasikala family) should be out, and judicial enquiry about the death of JJ (Jayalalithaa) is met by CM. Merger imminent”.

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