Panneerselvam inducted in Tamil Nadu government, PM Modi assures support

What will become of the AIADMK merger

February 5, 2017: Sasikala elected as leader of the Legislature Party.

Subsequently, Sasikala named Palaniswami as Legislature Party Leader as she herself had to go to Bengaluru to serve a prison sentence following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case. During Jayalalithaa's 75- day hospitalisation, only Sasikala and the doctors and paramedical staff had access to her. Following the merger, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam swore in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at 4;30 pm. EPS also vowed to retrieve the two-leaf symbol and vanquish the enemy.

One of the key conditions that Panneerselvam's camp laid down for the merger was the expulsion of Sasikala, who had handled the reigns of the party to become the CM. There were also reports of hard bargaining on party and cabinet posts by Palaniswami-led AIADMK (Amma) faction and the OPS group. But later they both have come to the headquarters and the announcement was subsequently made. After party supremo Jayalalitha's demise, a battle for succession broke out between Sasikala and O Pannerselvam leading to Pannerselvam creating his own faction within the party.

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However, as the two factions continued to discuss the fine-print of the merger till late on Friday night, the mammoth crowd that had arrived at Amma's (as Jayalalithaa is popularly referred to) memorial braving heavy showers, began to disperse. Amid speculation of an imminent merger of the two factions, several AIADMK MLAs of both the groups had congregated at the mausoleum of Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach here. In the light of T T V Dhinakaran's camp swelling in strength and government's future hanging in balance, OPS is gearing up for a long haul.

Even as EPS and OPS sealed the deal, 18 AIADMK legislators-a sufficient number to topple the Palaniswami government that is surviving on a wafer thin majority- met expelled deputy general secretary and Sasikala's nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran.

Hundreds of party cadres, who had thronged the AIADMK office on the occasion, gave a rousing welcome to Panneerselvam.

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Aug 10: Prospects of merger brighten as the Amma faction says Dhinakaran's appointment as deputy general secretary was against party rules.

O. Panneerselvam had earlier served as the Chief Minister of the state after the death of ex-Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Edappadi had agreed to take only two nominees from the OPS camp into his Ministry while Panneerselvam wanted former minister K Semmalai included as well.

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Amid the new list of minister, with added persons into profiles from the till now divided Panneerselvam faction, the party is expected to face a major challenge from the supporters of Sasikala.

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