AIADMK fractions merge, Panneerselvam to be TN Deputy CM

No AIADMK merger yet after OPS group leaders resist EPS offerMore

Reflecting the BJP's thinking, Gurumurthy has taken the view that the AIADMK should be purged of corrupt elements (hinting towards the Sasikala clan) and reunited to reclaim the frozen "Two Leaves" symbol so that it could align with the BJP whenever Tamil Nadu goes to the polls. OPS will be co-ordinator for AIADMK.

Earlier, the leaders of the two factions arrived at the party's head office to announce the merger. Though the party leaders of AIADMK wanted to be one, it was Sasikala who wanted to take the oath as Chief Minister after which Panneerselvam has been asked to step down.

Thangamani and Mem-ber of Parliament R. Vaithialingam held talks with O. Panneerselvam and his senior leaders till late into Friday night.

The compromise between the two factions took a lot of time to fructify.

On Saturday, August 19, OPS said that the talks for the merger were on as it was a desire of the people of Tamil Nadu.

Mar 22: The Election Commission issues an interim order freezing the "two leaves" election symbol of AIADMK; says the two rival camps can not use the party symbol as well as its name for the by-poll. "It is for their own self that these leaders have got together".

Panneerselvam relented for a bit. Also worked out were the positions offered to team OPS.

O Panneerselvam will become the deputy chief minister while Edappadi Palaniswami will continue as the chief minister.

The merger came about after Panneerselvam dropped the key demand for the complete removal of Sasikala.




In the meantime, speculations were rife that an RSS ideologue was approached to resolve the issue.

Such being the case, any overt action against Sasikala might provoke deposed deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, he feared.

Party sources say a steering or advisory committee will be formed with representation from the two merging factions to overcome this hurdle. He added, "No other party in the country has merged after a split". It was also not clear how many in the general council were still backing Sasikala.

Though Dinakaran, who was said to be unwell, himself maintained silence, over a dozen MLAs owing allegiance to him reached former Chief Minister J. Jayalaliathaa's memorial on the Marina beach and announced they will meet the Governor.

"The merger will certainly happen Monday morning, at around 10.30".

Panneerselvam has been allocated the portfolios of Finance, Housing, Rural Housing, Housing Development, Slum Clearance Board, Town Planning, Urban Development, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Accommodation Control.

However, the merger is no guarantee that it would be a smooth-sailing for the AIADMK. Since morning, party supporters began assembling in large numbers, with both Palaniswami and OPS expected to visit the headquarters a little past noon. Much may depend upon how the party performs in the impending municipal elections, which the Madras High Court is pushing the state to conduct as soon as possible.

The Opposition DMK has already announced it would move a no-confidence motion as "this was not a government that people had voted for".

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