The two factions of AIADMK which cracked after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam have announced their merger on Monday in their party head-quarters.
The merger will also decide on the expulsion of party chief VK Sasikala. As part of the pact, OPS is to take the posts of deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator, and three of his supporters may become ministers. A coordination committee is likely to run the party.
The Chief Minister agreed to start the process of distancing the party from Sasikala but OPS camp was emphatic about an unambiguous and public declaration of Sasikala's expulsion.
First priority is to retrieve two leaves symbol, said chief minister Palaniswami after announcing the merger. “We will fulfill all Amma’s promises.” Palaniswami announces Panneerselvam as convenor of panel to run party affairs, he himself to be co-convenor of the 11-member team. Panneerselvam will be convener for this party (AIADMK) and Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswami after merger.
Sasikala, a long-time friend of Jayalalithaa, took control of the party after her death, forcing the resignation of OPS who then rebelled. Sasikala's plans crashed when she was sentenced to a four-year jail term for corruption
Palaniswami and Panneerselvam's separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi recently were seen to be the propellant for a merger. The BJP is believed to be heavily invested in a reunited AIADMK as it tries to gain political space in Tamil Nadu, which has always oscillated between the regional rivals AIADMK and DMK.
MGR and Amma will be very happy today as we have both united. In six months, we suffered many problems. We will overcomeChief minister Palaniswami
“I will work as a ordinary member. We have united bowing to the wishes of lakhs of AIADMK workers to turn Amma’s dreams into reality,” Panneerselvam says after merger announcement.
Sources say Panneerselvam to be deputy chief minister, three more of his MLAs will be inducted as ministers.