Six months after they split following the death of then chief minister J Jayalalithaa, The two factions of Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK joined hands on Monday. The fruitful talks recently by both the factions had brightened the prospects of a reunion.
The warring factions in a united voice, said: “MGR (party founder MG Ramachandran) always wanted to see us united, not split.”
“The burden in my heart is gone,” Panneerselvam said, adding: “None can separate us, we are children of Amma (late chief minister Jayalalithaa), we are brothers.”
According to various media reports, Former chief minister O Paneerselvam was made the convener of the merged AIADMK. Chief minister K Palaniswami said he will be the joint convener. Palaniswami said there will be 11 people in a committee to run the party.
Panneerselvam will be the deputy CM and get additional charge of the finance and housing ministries. An official release form the Raj Bhavan said governor C Vidyasagar Rao had accepted the recommendation of the chief minister to designate Panneerselvam as deputy chief minister. He will be sworn in shortly.
A smiling Palaniswami and Panneerselvam shook hands signifying the formal merger of both the factions at the party headquarters in Chennai.
Palaniswami praised Panneerselvam for facilitating the merger, amidst thunderous applause and jubilant scenes at a crowded ceremony.
There was no mention of jailed AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala in the press statement. Speculations are rife that she might be removed or sidelined after the merger of both the factions .
Sasikala’s ouster as well as a probe into late CM Jayalalithaa’s death were the key demands by the Paneerselvam camp. Sasikala is currently in jail in connection with a corruption case.