Chennai: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam (OPS) is all set to be the Deputy Chief Minister under the merged All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government in the state.
He will also be given the additional charge of Finance Ministry and will be sworn-in at 4:30 p.m. today.
Earlier, in what can be dubbed as a political turnaround in a state that was embroiled in a political drama till not so long ago, the two warring factions of the AIADMK – one led by Chief Minister E. Palanisamy (EPS) and the other by OPS – announced a merger, citing that “MGR always wanted to see us united, not split.”
The striking part of the merger is that EPS has taken a backseat in the party, declaring OPS as the convenor of the party. EPS will be the co-convenor.
EPS will continue to be the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
EPS, while addressing a press briefing here, said that there will be 11 people in a committee to co-ordinate in the merger.
There was no mention of jailed AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala in the press statement.
“We will get the party symbol back and will defeat the enemy. Jayalalithaa had said before that after me, the AIADMK will be there for 100 years. We all will make it sure,” he added.
“We all are children of one mother, and Amma (Jayalalithaa) is that one mother.”
Earlier, Panneerselvam had announced that the AIADMK would be one once again, while also adding that the Sasikala clan would not be a part of the party.
The OPS faction, despite welcoming the probe into Jayalalithaa’s death, also contemplated on seeking the expulsion of jailed AIADMK general secretary Sasikala from the party as the final pre-requisite before joining hands with the EPS camp.
The formal expulsion of jailed party general secretary and her kin, including deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran, from the AIADMK was the other major demand.
The much-anticipated merger of the two warring factions of the AIADMK, however, hit a last-minute roadblock on Friday.
According to reports, EPS and OPS were expected to make a joint appearance at Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai and announce the merger.
The security was also stepped up at the Jayalalithaa mausoleum at Marina Beach late in the evening.
The leaders of both the factions, however, started to leave the venue, hinting towards a disruption of the talks again.
Party sources said there were few issues that were to be addressed by both groups, but didn’t elaborate further.
The political drama in the state unfolded just after the verdict on the disproportionate assets case involving late J. Jayalalithaa and Sasikala was announced and the latter was sentenced to serve the remainder of her jail term. (ANI)