Six months after resigning as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, senior AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam was on Monday sworn in as the deputy chief minister of the state as the rivals factions of the party decided to unite. He was administered oath by Governor Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan. Panneerselvam has been allotted Finance, a portfolio held by D Jayakumar, besides Housing, Rural Housing and Housing Development, Slum Clearance Board and Accommodation Control, Town Planning, Urban Development and CMDA hitherto held by
Udumalai K Radhakrishnan. Jayakumar also holds the Fisheries portfolio and that remains with him.
Panneerselvam aide K Pandiarajan was also accomodated in the Cabinet, while re-allocating portfolios among existing ministers following the formal merger of the two factions of AIADMK. Pandiarajan has been given Tamil Official Language and Tamil culture, besides Archaelogy, hitherto held by Sevoor S Ramachandran and K A Sengottaiyan, respectively.
The two factions of the AIADMK merged, six months after they split following the death of then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Paneerselvam was made the Coordinator of the merged AIADMK. Chief Minister K. Palaniswami will be the Joint Coordinator, the Chief Minister announced at a brief function at the party headquarters while announcing the merger.
The factional feud began in February after Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala. The former chief minister had said that he was forced to resign from his post and asserted that only a person desired by people and cadres should succeed him in the government and party. After this, Panneerselvam was immediately sacked from the top party post of treasurer, marking the birth of the rebel AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction.
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.
(With inputs from agencies)