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AIADMK factions' merge after 6 months; OPS-EPS seal deal with handshake

AIADMK factions' merge after 6 months; OPS-EPS seal deal with handshake

After six months of wrangling, the two rival factions of the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu merged on Monday. While Panneerselvam wanted a resolution to be passed immediately, AIADMK officials said a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue managed to persuade him to drop the demand of a resolution and take the matter up jointly with Palaniswami before the Election Commission of India.

Besides inducting the two into the government, Edappadi also announced that OPS would be coordinator of the united party and he would be his deputy. EPS is learnt to have accepted only a few names put forth by OPS for key assignments and portfolios within the party and his government.

It has been speculated that the merger has been brokered by the BJP, with both EPS and OPS meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Amid dispute with the General Secretary, Panneerselvam resigned as the Chief Minister in February 2017.

Panneerselvam will become the Deputy Chief Minister and he will also be given the additional charge of Finance Ministry and will be sworn in today.

Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiraithagal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan said the fate of the state government would depend on the decision taken by the group of MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran.

As per AIADMK party bylaws, the general secretary can not be removed by a resolution passed by a committee or group of office bearers. Further, the Palaniswami faction felt that calling for a meeting of the general council immediately will add more pressure on the party as members could use the situation to demand positions and favours.

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He told the media that to throw Sasikala out of the party all efforts will be made.

AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathy, however, said that a total of seven lakh signatures have been collected to retain Sasikala as the general secretary.

Sources said the two factions could announce the merger after the AIADMK meeting.

That was not announced today but party sources said it will happen soon. The talks are going on smoothly. Palaniswami also said that "Veda Nilayam", the erstwhile residence of Jayalalithaa in Poes Garden here, would be converted into a public memorial, an announcement that was slammed by Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayakumar, who questioned the unilateral decision sans consultations with heirs.

"This party will be of the cadres, and it will be safeguarded".

The political turmoil that Tamil Nadu witnessed since the death of chief minister J Jayalalithaa has subsided for now, with a merger of the two AIADMK factions.

The merger was expected to be finalised on Friday night, but was reportedly delayed because of "ticklish issues" between both camps. Indeed, the talk within AIADMK leadership circles is that it was some such altercation between Sasikala, Dinakaran and other family members on one side, and then Chief Minister Panneerselvam on the other that decided the mild-mannered "stepney" for Jayalalithaa herself to revolt against the clan.