AIADMK factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and rebel leader O Panneerselvam came together today after a bitter split about six months ago.
A smiling K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam shook hands signifying the formal merger of both the factions at the party headquarters in Chennai, PTI reported. According to sources, Panneerselvam will be the new deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu. VK Sasikala, the party chief, who’s currently serving jail sentence in Bengaluru, may also be expelled from the party.
Palaniswami said Paneerselvam will be AIADMK’s coordinator while he will be the joint coordinator.
“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.”
He said the merger was not only the desire of Tamil Nadu people, but also of the of 1.5 crore AIADMK cadres.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami praised Panneerselvam for facilitating the merger, amidst thunderous applause and jubilant scenes at a crowded ceremony.
AIADMK had split after J Jayalalithaa’s death as Sasikala staked her claim to be the new chief minister by dislodging Panneerselvam prompting the latter to revolt the party’s leadership. This had caused an unprecedented drama within the party as both Sasikala and Panneerselvam factions went to the governor staking their respective claims to form the government.
However, the controversy was doused after the Supreme Court refused to entertain her plea seeking more time to surrender for undergoing jail term in the disproportionate assets case. She was later forced to surrender in a court in Bengaluru in February this year.
Palaniswami, who was from Sasikala’s camp, was later sworn in as the new chief minister of the state.
More to follow