Finally, after days of drama, the two rival factions of AIADMK - headed by Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and predecessor O Panneerselvam (OPS) - declared themselves merged at the party headquarters in Chennai on Monday.
The merger was announced by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswamy and there was a gathering of supporters of both groups in the party office and both leaders were addressing the supporters.
Removal of Sasikala and making it public was the last minute precondition imposed by the OPS camp which delayed the merger by a couple of hours but that too was accepted by the EPS camp and announced soon after the merger ceremony.
Palaniswami also announced plans to convert former chief minister Jayalilathaa's Poes Garden residence Vedanilayam into a memorial, which, however, was opposed by Jayalilathaa's neice Deepa Jayakumar, who claimed legal rights to the property.
The statement said Panneerselvam would be designated the Deputy Chief Minister and allocated the Finance portfolio. The Chief Minister said difference of opinion between the two factions had emerged earlier and that they were now being addressed through discussions.
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Now that the merger has taken place, the two erstwhile factions would have to withdraw their respective petitions filed before the Election Commission, one by EPS endorsing Sasikala's election as general secretary and another by OPS camp questioning its legality. "Let us take a pledge to bring glory to the government and the party floated by Puratchi Thalaivar and nurtured by Puratchi Thalaivi Amma". He was named a deputy coordinator of the party.
August 18: Party leaders from both the factions held multiple meetings after which the O Pannerselvam faction said an announcement on the merger will be made on August 21, 2017.
December 29, 2016:Amma's close aide V K Sasikala was appointed as AIADMK's general secretary in an unanimous resolution adopted by the party's general council meeting.
In a dramatic incident, Sasikala has been announced accused in the disproportionate assets case and she has been jailed. O Panneerselvam who was the interim chief minister, when Amma was in the hospital, was removed by Sasikala. A senior party official said the merger was finalised on Thursday night.
The Modi government had been reportedly trying to reunite the two factions.
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