Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the rival AIADMK camp moved the Election Commission again to declare as invalid the posts of Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dhinakaran amid mounting speculation of a merger of the ruling party's two factions. A possible merger of the two AIADMK factions gained currency yesterday after a meeting presided over by Palaniswami adopted a resolution questioning the appointment of Dhinakaran as AIADMK's deputy general secretary, a move welcomed by the rival camp headed by O Panneerselvam. Palaniswami, who is heading the AIADMK (Amma) faction, for the record maintained that he only discussed the need for exempting Tamil Nadu from the purview of the all-India NEET exam. This was the second meeting since last month between the two where Palaniswami took up the issue of exempting the state from the purview of the NEET, the all-India medical college entrance test. Palaniswami "reiterated the request of exemption from NEET for Tamil Nadu", a brief official release in Chennai said. Accompanied by Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, the chief minister called on Modi at the office of the Prime Minister in Parliament House, the release added. Stalled negotiations on the merger of two AIADMK factions picked up again after yesterday's meeting in Chennai. A resolution passed at the meeting said Dhinakaran's elevation to the post, hours before his aunt Sasikala Natarajan was taken to a jail in Bengaluru, was against party bylaws, a condition for the merger which former chief minister O Panneerselvam's AIADMK had been pushing for. Palaniswami had earlier met Modi on the NEET issue on July 25.
He and some of his cabinet colleagues, including Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, also met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Tamil Nadu has been seeking exemption from NEET, saying it would benefit its students. With the AIADMK (Amma) faction severing ties with Dhinakaran, the party's O Panneerselvam camp today again demanded before the Election Commission to declare the posts of Sasikala and Dhinakaran as invalid in the AIADMK. AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan had appointed Dhinakaran as her deputy hours before she was sent to a jail in Bengaluru. However, yesterday a resolution passed at the meeting of Palaniswami camp declared that Dhinakaran's elevation was in violation of party bylaws. A delegation of AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma camp of Panneerselvam submitted an affidavit along with the resolution with the poll panel to back their demands. "We had already urged the EC to declare position of AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala and deputy GS TTV Dhinakaran as invalid as it was against party constitution. The resolution which was passed yesterday adds strength to our case," said senior leader K P Munusamy. MLA K Pandiarajan, former MP Manoj Pandian and former state minister Natham R Viswanathan were other members in the delegation. Dhinakaran sought to downplay the stand taken by the Palaniswami-led camp against him and Sasikala. He said the ministers were acting against him due to some "fear," and only they should explain what it was. He, however, reiterated that when warranted he would resort to "surgical action.
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