Chennai: AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday (October 7) announced that E Palaniswami will be the ruling AIADMK's Chief ministerial candidate for the Tamil Nadu election next year.

The announcement came after weeks of negotiation and speculation over intense rivalry between chief minister E Palaniswami or "EPS", and Panneerselvam.

Palaniswami, who is the joint coordinator of the party, announced the members of a steering committee, which is OPS’s long-pending demand for the merger of factions after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

A 11-member steering committee has been set up to guide the party on all matters. The steering committee members are: Dindigul C Sreenivasan, P Thangamani, S P Velumani, D Jayakumar, C Ve Shanmugam, R Kamaraj, JCD Prabhakar, P H Manoj Pandian, P Mohan, R Gopalakrishnan and C Manickam.

The committee will look into "collective leadership", said Panneerselvam, also known as "OPS", recalling the leadership of J Jayalalithaa, the former AIADMK chief and chief minister who died in 2016.

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The announcements came after marathon discussions at the residences of OPS and EPS by party leaders and ministers all through Tuesday.

Later, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, along with ministers and party functionaries visited MGR and Jayalalithaa memorial on Marina and paid respects.

According to a report on NDTV, posters projecting OPS as chief ministerial candidate had led to talk about another intense tussle between the AIADMK's top two.

But after several rounds of talks, the party has apparently settled for a truce in which EPS heads the government while OPS will have a greater say in the party.

The pact is crucial ahead of the return of VK Sasikala, the ousted AIADMK chief who was jailed for corruption. Sasikala is likely to be released from jail in January though reports suggest it could be earlier.