AIADMK Factions Merge After 6 Months, OPS To Be Deputy CM


Chennai: The big political drama starring Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and late CM J Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide O Panneerselvam concluded today with the two warring factions of the AIADMK deciding to join hands and completely sideline jailed party general secretary VK Sasikala.

The political situation in Tamil Nadu has been volatile ever since J Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year. In a dramatic turn of events, O Panneerselvam, who was made the interim CM during Jayalalithaa’s stay in hospital, was removed from the post by Sasikala.

Sasikala not only removed Panneerselvam and made E Palaniswami the CM but also brought is her nephew TTV Dinakaran into the party again. Dinakaran was suspended by Jayalalithaa in 2011.

Both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam reached AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, shook hands marking the merger of both camps. However, the drama which has been continuing for the last six months carried on till the very last as the Panneerselvam camp insisted on sacking VK Sasikala. Immediately after the merger, Panneerselvam announced that Sasikala would be removed as AIADMK’s general secretary.  Palaniswami said Paneerselvam will be AIADMK’s coordinator while he will be the joint coordinator.

“O Panneerselvam will be convener for this party (AIADMK). Our first priority will be to retrieve the two leaves symbol. We will fulfill all the promises made by Amma (Jayalalithaa),” CM Palaniswami said immediately after announcing the merger.

“Amma had once told me that AIADMK will continue to serve the people for 100 years. We all will make sure it happens,” Palaniswami added. “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.”

“We have one mother, we are one AIADMK. We are one family.  I will continue to work as AIADMK worker,” said Panneerselvam, who will no serve as Palaniswami’s deputy.

Earlier, BJP president Amit Shah postponed his three-day Tamil Nadu tour. This is the second time Shah has deferred his trip to the southern state. He was earlier scheduled to visit Tamil Nadu in May but it was postponed as well.

While both the AIADMK factions have been friendly to the BJP and supported to its presidential and vice-presidential nominees, the saffron party has indicated its preference for their unification.

While the BJP has one Lok Sabha MP from the state, it has no representation in the 234-member state assembly, dominated by the AIADMK.