Live: OPS sworn-in TN Deputy Chief Minsiter; AIADMK May Get ‘Two-Leaves’ Party Symbol Back

  • PM Narendra Modi tweeted out congratulatory messages to Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.
  • O Panneerselvam (OPS) was on Monday sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He will also hold portfolios of Finance, Housing, Urban Development and CMDA.
  • E Palaniswami will remain the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
  • Panneerselvam will be the convenor of the AIADMK, while CM Palaniswami will be the co-convenor.
  • OPS got the Finance portfolio, while his supporters Pandiarajan and Semmalai were also be inducted into the Cabinet and took oath of office on Monday.
  • The deal is mum on VK Sasikala for now. Sources told News18 Tamil that the party leader, who is serving time in a Bengaluru jail, may be sacked as per the demand of the Panneerselvam camp.
  • Palaniswami says the united AIADMK’s priority will now be to get the party’s 'Two-leaves' symbol back. The symbol had been frozen by the Election Commission in view of their feud.
  • The AIADMK has merged after weeks of roadblocks and an intense war of words .
  • Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami announced that he was taking over as the co-convenor of the AIADMK, along with O Panneerselvam.
  • KR Munuswamy and Vaithilingam have been named the deputy-co-convenors of the party.
  • The OPS and EPS factions vowed to work towards fulfilling Amma’s dream together.
  • Supporters of TTV Dhinakaran have slammed the merger as a “betrayal of Sasikala”.

Addressing the media, O Panneerselvam acknowledged the tussle between the two factions of AIADMK, going on to state that the two camps have now merged and will work towards fulfilling Amma’s dream together.

O Panneerselvam No one can separate us. We are fulfilling the dreams of crores of cadres and doing this merger. From now on, we will work towards fulfilling Amma’s dreams. Thanks leaders of all factions.

Tamil Nadu CM, E Palaniswami announced that OPS will be made the convenor of the AIADMK, while he will be taking up the role of the co-convenor.

KR Munuswamy and Vaithilingam will made deputy-co-convenors of the party, EPS said.

E PalaniswamiWe have resolved our differences and we’re back stronger. It’s a historical moment. We now strive to realize MGR’s dream.

A 11-member committee has been made to run the party. After the merger, the top priority ofthe party is to retrieve the two-leaves symbol.

Hitting out at OPS and EPS, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, a TTV Dhinakaran supporter said, “These two leaders were supporting Sasikala and gave affidavits in her favour. They wanted her to take over party and government. A few months ago, they had lined up outside Chinamma Sasikala’s house and asked her to become the CM. Why have they changed stance now? What has changed? Media should ask them.”

Saraswathi further added that the two factions had betrayed Sasikala. “Chinamma is not new to AIADMK. She was with our Amma for three decades and everyone in the party knows her. Party cadres will understand this betrayal.”

Nanjil Sampath, another AIADMK leader who has been a TTV Dhinakaran loyalist said, “Finance Minister D Jayakumar is calling us cheats. He should remember that when he had no position or portfolio, it was Sasikala who ensured that he became the minister for Fisheries. Who is a cheat now?”.

According to CNN News18, O Panneerselvam’s convoy will reach the AIADMK headquarters shortly.

Speaking to the media, MLA Semmalai said,

All demands have been met, we are happy with everything. Heading to party office & expect good news only.

Tamill Nadu CM E Palaniswami reached AIADMK headquarters after terminating his visit for a short while.

MLAs Manoj Pandian, JCD Prabhakaran, Maitreyan, Ponnaiyan reached the AIADMK headquarters.

Chief Minister E Palaniswami has decided to postpone his visit to the AIADMK headquarters, where a meeting regarding the merger was scheduled to be held at 12 pm.

OPS has said he will not go to the AIADMK headquarters, until the EPS camp makes a clear statement about Sasikala's ouster, The News Minute reported. The meeting between the two factions was scheduled to begin at noon, but the OPS camp wants it in writing that Sasikala will be sidelined by the EPS camp, reported CNN News18.

Party workers and MLAs from AIADMK reach party headquarters amid merger talks.

The News Minute reports that a meeting is underway at TTV Dhinakaran’s residence, involving 17 MLAs.

The MLAs are: Jayanthi Padmanabhan, Senthil Balaji, Thangatamil selvan, Palaniappan, Rangasamy, Subramanian, Kennedy Marriappan, SD K Jakaiyan, Sunderraj, Vetrivel, Dr Muthaiya, Kothandapani, Murugan, Balasubramaniam, Kathirkamu, Thangadurai, and Azhumalai.

Earlier, only 16 MLAs were at TTV’s residence, with Jayanthi Padmanabhan joined joining in later.

BJP National President Amit Shah has reportedly cancelled his visit to Tamil Nadu, scheduled for tomorrow. The trip has now been postponed, reported The News Minute.

O Panneerselvam might be made the deputy Chief Minister, with his long-time portfolio of FInance Ministry handed over to him, reported CNN News18.

Sources also told the channel that the Education portfolio will be handed over to Mafoi K Pandiarajan. MP S Semmalai is also expected to bag the Health portfolio in the newly formed cabinet.

Sources suggest that the state cabinet will likely be reshuffled today at 3 pm, reported CNN News18. This move will follow the supposed merger which has been on cards since Friday.

According to The News Minute, three new ministers from the OPS camp are likely to be sworn in.

In a new revelation, CCTV camera footage accessed from the Bengaluru Jail, where former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala Natarajan is currently housed, shows her walking into the prison in civilian clothes, flouting jail norms reserved for convicts.

Sasikala has been convicted in the disproportionate assets case and carries a sentence of four-years’ jail term. However, in the video, she could be seen walking into the jail from the gate with Illavarasi, her aide, both dressed in civilian clothes and carrying a bag each.

Watch the CCTV footage here.

On Friday, there were two meetings with OPS at the head, discussing the possible AIADMK merger. While the first one was a 5-hour long marathon meeting at OPS's Greenways residence, the second meeting saw only six leaders from the OPS camp and three others from the EPS camp at OPS's Venus Colony residence.

However, the first meeting saw a lot of disagreements within the OPS camp, suggesting brewing discontent within the faction. The News Minute spoke to three leaders who were part of this meeting, and according to them the leaders took turns to speak and put forward their thoughts on the terms of merger.

Things got heated up in the meeting when former minister Mafoi Pandiarajan made his speech. Mafoi spoke about how he had sacrificed his cabinet post to join OPS and that it was imperative for both sides to make concessions. This infuriated KP Munusamy, who said that there was no point talking about 'sacrifices'.

“OPS is definitely under pressure from several quarters. But we tried our best to impress on him that a compromise without certain conditions would be meaningless," a leader told TNM.

"Many leaders were agitated by then. We did not include Mafoi's name in the committee and that led to some more friction," another leader who was present at the meeting told TNM.

While all three leaders asserted that the merger will definitely happen, a clear resentment is visible in the OPS camp. "OPS and EPS should not prostrate before Delhi so much. Modi and Amit Shah won't get us votes, people will see through this," a third leader from the OPS camp told TNM.

With the OPS-EPS factions of AIADMK expected to combine today, the AIADMK merger is likely to be announced around noon, suggest media reports.

The merger is expected to take plade at the AIADMK headquarters, with both factions reaching there by 11.30, reported CNN News 18. Both sides will hold a meeting with their party workers, following which the two leaders will then present a joint statement.

Governor of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao has left Mumbai for Chennai, reported ANI.

He has further cancelled all his appointments in Mumbai for the day, according to his PRO.

Rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam on Sunday said talks on the merger of factions led by him and Chief Minister K Palaniswami have moved a step forward and a "good" decision would be reached shortly.

"I had informed that the merger talks are already progressing smoothly. It has progressed one more step...A good decision will be attained shortly as desired by you," he told reporters here after a meeting with his party functionaries.

On Saturday, Panneerselvam had said that talks on the merger of the factions were going on smoothly and a positive result was expected in a "day or two".

Palaniswami, too, had said he was confident that "both the factions would merge soon".

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam will head a merged AIADMK while Chief Minister K. Palaniswami will continue to head the government, said a leader from the Panneerselvam faction.

The leader also said the government can look into the possibility of reviving the Legislative Council or Upper House of the assembly to accommodate members in the party without showing the door for those now holding posts.

"As regards party affairs, Panneerselvam will be the number one and Palaniswami number two. In the government, Panneerselvam in most probability will be the Deputy Chief Minister," the leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

"There will be couple of ministerial berths for legislators from our group," he added.

This is the contour of the merger plan the two factions in the AIADMK have agreed upon.

O Panneerselvam, addressing the media on Saturday, said the talks on the AIADMK were underway. “In one or two days, a concrete decision will be known,” he said.

O PanneerselvamThere are no differences within the faction. We will carry forward on the path of MGR and ‘Amma’.

The merger between the warring AIADMK camps led by O Panneerselvam and E Palaniswami has been put on hold. A member of the OPS faction said no announcement on the anticipated merger would be made on 18 August. It was not clear if any announcement would be made in the coming days.

Speculation about the merger began to make the rounds after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami announced his decision to appoint a one-man committee to probe former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death.

The meeting of the OPS camp lasted nearly four hours.

TTV Dinakaran, who was opposed to the merger, also held a meeting which was attended by only three MLAs. Speaking to reporters after meeting party chief VK Sasikala at Parapana Agrahara prison on her birthday, Dinakaran said the move of a possible merger was not a “setback” for him, claiming that it wouldn’t last long.

Even as it was reported that the merger would be announced at Jayalalithaa’s memorial, some party members were seen leaving the site.

They did not speak to the media to indicate whether the merger would go through or fail.

AIADMK faction led by T T V Dinakaran celebrated the birthday of Sasikala.

Hailing Sasikala as a “sacrificial mother,” Dinakaran inserted a full page advertisement in party mouthpiece ‘Dr Namadhu MGR’ saying she guarded the party the way “eyebrows protected the eyes.”

Praising her for taking the burden (of the party) on her shoulders, he said her birthday was their 'utsav.' Extending his best wishes, he said, “Truth (dharma) will win soon, falsehoold (adharma) will be vanquished,” apparently hitting out at rebel leader Panneerselvam and the Chief Minister.

Former Ministers V Senthilbalaji and P Palaniappan were among several loyalists who wished Sasikala.

Downplaying the expected merger of the two AIADMK factions, Dinakaran said it would not last long.

Speaking to reporters in China after meeting party chief Sasikala at Parapana Agrahara prison on her birthday, he said the move was not a “setback” to him.

He said it was unlike the 1989 unification of the party led by Jaya, “which was natural.” The AIADMK had split following the demise of founder leader MG Ramachandran in 1987.

Dhinakaran alleged “they (Palaniswami and Panneerselvam) are doing it for their self-interest to protect their position... that will not have longevity".

He said the merger would not last long if it was done to "safeguard their posts, like a business agreement, leaving away cadres, out of selfishness".

AIADMK merger likely to be announced at Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai around 7.30 pm. Panneerselvam is likely to be made the Deputy Chief Minister.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and leader of the former group, M Thambidurai on Friday said that only the Election Commission of India (ECI) could cancel Sasikala’s appointment.

“She was elected duly by primary members of the party who form the general council. In her absence, the party secretaries can handle everyday affairs of the party. But they have no right to appoint anyone as general secretary or remove an existing general secretary,” The Hindu quoted Thambidurai as saying.

He also ruled out Palaniswami’s replacement, saying that he was appointed by Sasikala.

Only three MLAs showed up for the meeting called by Dinakaran at the Woodlands Hotel in a show of solidarity, CNN News 18 reported.

Dinakaran had earlier boasted support of around 20 MLAs, enough to bring the government down.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami’s decision to set up a one-man committee to probe J Jayalalithaa’s death has rekindled the hope of a merger between the O Panneerselvam faction of the AIADMK and the Palaniswami’s faction.

Talks of the merger had been on hold since the OPS faction had demanded that the EPS faction completely distance themselves from Sasikala. Talks had also come to a standstill over who would become the Chief Minister. However, after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the OPS faction had demanded a compromise instead.

A leader of the OPS-led faction told The The News Minute:

If EPS is ready to disown Sasikala publicly, we too can make a sacrifice for the greater good of the party. Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister aren’t posts we want to grab, and these are things we can compromise on.

News 18 reported that Panneerselvam called a meeting of elected representative and office-bearers of his faction on 18 August, possibly to discuss a merger.

However, Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, recently claimed he had 20 MLAs on his side to bring down the government.

Palaniswami’s announcement that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's residence would be converted into a memorial has received mixed reactions from her family.

Jayalalithaa’s niece, D Jayakumar, expressed displeasure over the announcement on turning Poes Garden into a memorial for Amma.

D Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s nieceI have a moral, ethical, and legal right over this house. They have no right to announce this without consulting legal heirs, that is me and my brother.

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