Rival AIADMK factions merge

After days of drama and despair, the two rival AIADMK factions headed by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam shook hands, called themselves Amma's children and declared their merger at the party headquarters in Chennai.

An hour later, Panneerselvam was sworn in as deputy chief minister by governor C Vidyasagar Rao. Panneerselvam got the portfolios of finance and housing, while his supporter, K Pandiarajan got Tamil official language, culture and archeology.

There was much bonhomie, handshaking and smiles as Palaniswami and Panneerselvam met after six months of bitter and acrimonious rivalry and formally announced that their factions had merged. While EPS will continue to be CM, OPS has been appointed coordinator of a steering committee that will run the party till a formal organisational election is conducted.

T T V Dhinakaran camp called EPS and OPS traitors and sought an appointment with the governor on Tuesday morning. At least 18 legislators visited TTV's residence in the morning to express solidarity.

The two leaders will share a dais in Ariyalur on Wednesday for the MGR centenary celebrations.

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