EPS will remain the CM, OPS will be a deputy CM and hold finance portfolio.
Chennai: Six months after the post-Jaya split, the two AIADMK factions merged on Monday following hard negotiations that culminated in former chief minister O. Panneerselvam being sworn-in as the deputy to incumbent Edappadi K. Palaniswami. The “sacrifice” did not go unrewarded as Mr Palaniswami agreed to be No. 2 in party hierarchy to OPS, who will now be the AIADMK coordinator.
OPS was given his old portfolio of finance, besides housing and a few others. His loyalist and former school education minister Mafoi K. Pandia-rajan was also brought back into the Cabinet albeit with the “minor” portfolios of Tamil official language, Tamil culture and archaeology.
While CM Palaniswami said the merger had dealt a “hammer blow” at those who were hoping of gaining from the AIADMK’s problems, OPS said people would welcome this unity blessed by Amma’s soul. “A heavy burden has been lifted off my mind”, OPS said. The merger took place at the AIADMK headquarters here early afternoon with a large turnout of loyalists of both the factions cheering their leaders. After the handshakes and media announcements that lasted about an hour, organising secretary R. Vaithilingam, also an MP, told reporters that the party general council would be convened soon to unseat V.K. Sasikala as party general secretary.