"Our lofty goal in effecting the merger will be to see that the party does not get entangled in the clutches of a family", he said, apparently targeting Sasikala and Dhinakaran.
Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiraithagal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan said the fate of the state government would depend on the decision taken by the group of MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran.
It was on February 7 that former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam dramatically announced his rebellion against the AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala. The two leaders shook hands and smiled for the cameras during the merger. "No one could divide us in the future". After the merger, E Palaniswami thanked Panneerselvam and said the party is now committed to fulfil the dreams of former CM J Jaylalitha known as "Amma" and MG Ramachandran one of the founding members of the party.
Reflecting the BJP's thinking, Gurumurthy has taken the view that the AIADMK should be purged of corrupt elements (hinting towards the Sasikala clan) and reunited to reclaim the frozen "Two Leaves" symbol so that it could align with the BJP whenever Tamil Nadu goes to the polls. A pact has been eluding the both factions since acceleration of talks over a week ago. Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepts OPS' resignation, but asks him to continue until a new chief minister is appointed. "The earlier split and the merger now, are being engineered by the BJP", he said.
There was no mention of jailed AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala in the press statement.
MLA Thanga Tamilselvan said that it was Sasikala who made both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam chief minister and hence they should have consulted her before deciding upon the merger. Currently, the Panneerselvam faction claims to have the support of 10 MLAs.
Paneerselvam was welcomed by Walajabad B Ganesan, a senior functionary of Amma camp which was led by Palaniswami, with a shawl. Jayakumar was given a cabinet berth, finance portfolio, by Dinakaran. Queried about the corruption charges levelled by the OPS group against the Government, he said: "Those things will be corrected".
Besides inducting the two into the government, Edappadi also announced that OPS would be coordinator of the united party and he would be his deputy.
After much speculation and last-minute negotiations, the merger was announced at the AIADMK headquarters on Monday afternoon.