Monday, February 6, 2017

Chinamma's control formalized

Sasikala Natrajan has been the closest aide of former Chief Minister late J Jaylaiththa for the last two decades. She was so close that she lived with Jailaliththa at her Chief Ministerial residence of Poes Garden. Jaya treated Sasikala as her sister. Being so close to Amma, Chinamma had become well versed in the politics of Tamil Nadu. After the death of Jayaliththa in December last after a prolonged illness, it was expected that Sasikala will immediately step into the shoes of Jaya. It is the political tradition of AIADMK that one person holds both the post of Chief Ministership and the Secretary General of the party to have total control on both organization and administration. And accordingly, she first became the General Secretary of AIADMK after Jaya’s death, and then made her way to become the Chief Minister of the state. O Paneerseelvam, who has always been the stop gap CM whenever the need arose, resigned citing personal reason to pave way for Sasikala Natrajan to adorn the post. Paneerselvam resigned and Sasikala was elected unanimously as the leader of AIADMK legislative party. She is to be sworn-in as CM any time. Paneerselvam was appointed as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on December 6, 2016 following J. Jayalalithaa's demise. Previously he served in the same office in 2001-02 and 2014-15. His first two terms as chief minister came to be when he replaced Jayalalithaa in the role, after she was forced to resign by the courts. But everything is not that easy for Sasikala. First of all she never has been the leader of the masses as Jaya was. She was always with Jaya as her shadow but never had any outreach to the people on the ground. Sasikala has never been elected to Tamil Nadu assembly. She has not ever entered electoral fray. This is her first drawback. Sasikala has also been facing Disproportionate Assets case, which is pending in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court is also going to start hearing the case next week. This is like Goebel's sword on her head because if the Supreme Court gave any adverse verdict, she would have to step down immediately. Besides this case, there is also ED related cases pending against her. Constitutionally, there is no obstacle in Sasikala to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu as she has been elected leader of the state legislature party. All the 134 AIADMK MLAs have given support to her. But as far as political morality is concerned, she lacks command and authority. She has no connectivity with the people of Tamil Nadu. It is also certain that she cannot match the political stature of Jayalaliththa in the state. Sasikala will also have not so strong command on her party men as Jaya used to have. The entire opposition in the state is against her election as AIADMK legislature party leader to become CM. Sasikala has neither political nor administrative experience to carry forward the legacy of Jaya in every respect. Jaya's niece is also against her to become the heir and legitimate claimant of the post of Chief Minister. So, Tamil Nadu will face a period of certainty till fresh made is given by the people.

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