The bitter spat within the two factions of AIADMK finally ended on Monday, almost six months after passing away of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Two factions led by O Pannerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami announced the merger, an Indian Express report said. As per the arrangement, Edappadi K Palaniswami will continue to remainthe state Chief Minister, while his predecessor O Panneerselvam was Deputy Chief Minister.
The deal between two factions, reached after days of negotiations, will lead to formal ouster of V K Sasikala as the party general secretary, who is in prison in a disproportionate assets case. According to the report, the former chief minister will be the coordinator of an 11-member steering committee, which willconsisit of three joint coordinators — R Vaithilingam, K P Munuswamy and Palaniswami. R Vaithilingam said the party is lao expected to convene a general council meeting to remove Sasikala from the post of general secretary.
Sasikala’s removal as party chief and investigation in the death of Jayalalithaa were two key demands of the Panneerselvam faction. However, these put at risk majority that the Palaniswami-led AIADMK government enjoys — the Sasikala camp, led by her nephew and party deputy general secretary Dinakaran, has got the support of at least 23 legislatures including three Independents. Dinakaran yet to respond on the merger announcement.
The removal of Sasikala as party general secretary involves legal steps, which include a resolution passed by the party’s general council and informing the Election Commission about the merger of two factions, the decision to remove Sasikala as interim chief, and withdrawing an affidavit filed by the Palaniswami faction endorsing leadership of Sasikala and Dinakaran.