Friday, 10 February 2017

Sasikala's power struggle in Tamilnadu

Within days of Jayalalitha’s death, Sasikala got elected as general secretary of the AIADMK although she had no official responsibility within the party and Jayalalitha had never publicly indicated any role for her. Sasikala assumed Jayalalitha’s role for herself and easily usurped it. There weren't any murmurs within the party when Sasikala wanted to become the leader although there were veterans who could have harboured leadership ambitions. Even O Paneerselvam, the only man whom Jayalalitha had shown any favour appeared meek and subservient. Sasiakala wasn’t content with just that and wanted the executive role as well and within two months of Jayalalitha’s death, her makeover was complete and she was ready to occupy the chief minister's office till the governor applied breaks on what appeared to be an easy ride.

In contrast, Jayalalitha’s story of ascendance starts with MGR picking her as the party’s propaganda secretary in 1983, and sending her to the Rajya Sabha in 1984. When MGR  died in 1987, she was treated like an outcast by an inimical coterie in the party. Jayalalitha wasn’t informed about MGR's death. She gatecrashed into his house, and then followed his body to the Rajaji Hall. Although unwanted and physically abused, she stood by his body in a white saree for 21 hours. The worst part is that she was pushed down from the carriage in which MGR’s body was taken for burial. Jayalalitha slogged for a decade and endured crushing misogyny, humiliation and even physical assault to inherit her mentor’s legacy. Jayalalithaa wrote her own story, that too following the rules of democracy, and didn’t usurp anybody else’s. Jayalalithaa didn’t take any shortcuts although she had MGR’s explicit nod as his protégé. 

In contrast, the narrative that we see now in Tamil Nadu is one of manipulation. Sasikala neither has Jaya’s approval nor people’s mandate, still, she wants to be the chief minister. She was close to Jayalalithaa, arguably the closest, who stuck with her through the thick and thin for three decades. And she had to endure the post-1996 deluge of criminal cases, which incidentally was also caused by the members of her extended family known as 'Mannargudi Mafia'. It’s also true that without her taking over, the party would have fractured. But in the public eye, nothing is good enough to subvert democracy, because that’s the core essence of India. While Jayalalithaa's story had been about talent, stardom, hard work, resolve, resistance, and success, Sasikala's is of a shadow that suddenly came to life.

How Modi once saved Jayalalitha from a Frankenstein's monster Sasikala in  2011

At the instance of Sasikala, the Chief Minister O Paneerselvam resigning, obtaining Governor's acceptance and then proposing & getting elected Sasikala as legislature party leader and Sasikala informing Governor Ch.Vidyasagar Rao and making arrangements for swearing in ceremony went at brisk pace all in a single day. The very same day Paneerselvam revolting against Sasikala, despite no support from any of his co-MLAs, and informing Governor that he resigned under pressure from Sasikala and wants to withdraw 'unprecedented' accepted resignation and requested for opportunity for proving strength on the floor of the house is simply an afterthought which was masterminded by Modi & Co. Paneerselvam, even with support of DMK (89) & Congress (8) still requires AIADMK (19) MLAs supporting him to prove majority while all AIADMK MLAs were hidden in resorts by Sasikala and unreachable.

But Governor indicating to hold on in view of expected Supreme Court judgement in next few days time pushing Tamilnadu into political turmoil is unprecedented and contrary to established practices. The leaks reaching media are that at the instance of Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh did all this, even though BJP is zero in TN. Irrespective of reasons allowing more than 5 days time to Paneerselvam in not only to contrary to practices but also resulted in intense horse trading.

If Jayalalitha (A1 in the case) could become CM in May 2016, why not Sasikala (A2 in the same case) has to await Supreme Court's final judgement? This is nothing but Modi meddling in TN matters without even having a single BJP seat through Governor. Supreme Court remarked in its hearings that "merely possessing assets disproportionate to known income does not amount to corruption unless the source of that income is illegal" and the burden of proving crime rests on CBI (not on Jayalalithaa & co etc to prove their innocence) and acquittal will surprise none.

As things stand now, Sasikala is unstoppable, even though detrimental to the interests of people of Tamilnadu.

My View:
If Sasikala becomes CM in next few days, she will be ruling Tamilnadu for next 4.5 years without mandate of people of Tamilnadu. The question is when we had no objection for Manmohan Singh ruling the nation for 10 years without people mandate, then why should we have objection for Sasikala? But knowing the attitude & character of Sasikala, especially after Mannargudi Mafia stories are convincing, Tamilnadu is heading for darker days and if DMK & Stalin are lucky a mid term poll is likely. Personally I would prefer mid term poll since people mandated Jayalilatha, without any declared successor, is dead now and people should decide on destiny of TN not Sasikala's henchmen who got elected as MLAs, clandestinely, with Jayalalitha-AIADMK's ticket.

Modi & BJP are attempting gain foothold in Tamilnadu through Paneerselvam will materialize or not, let's wait and see. Knowing the tendencies of South Indians they would neither trust BJP nor Congress, parties dominated by North Indians. DMK's resurrection is likely in case of midterm poll.

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