-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
The era of confusion and uncertainty that prevailed in Tamil Nadu since the death of the then CM Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu seems to have receded, if not disappeared, as the two major factions of the ruling AIADMK – Amma AIADMK of E. Palanisamy and Puratchithalaivi Amma AIADMK of O. Pannerselvam – have decided, after a prolonged drama for months, to forget their animosity and run the government and party jointly.
But the new arrangement has upset the jailed Sasikala and relatives.
Sasikala wanted special privileges the jail in Bangalore at par with those enjoyed by the former CM Jayalalithaa. She also wanted to control the party and Jayalalithaa government by being in the jail for her financial crimes against Tami People, whose wealth she and her relatives have looted by staying at Poes garden house of Jayalalithaa for years.
With the two major factions of the ruling AIADMK having come together and formed a unified government in Tamil Nadu with O.Panneerselvam as Deputy CM, the writing on the Tamil wall is crystal clear: so-called Chinnamma and her chinnamma must quit the Party and the posts they have acquired following the untimely death of Jayalalithaa.
People of AIADMK and Tamil Nadu have rejected the opportunistic politics of Sasikala and her family. They must end political theater and quite the state but leave behind the wealth they have amassed illegally by misusing Jayalalithaa and her Poes garden bungalow.
Panneerselvam, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu who headed rebel AIADMK faction before the merger, was administered the oath of office and secrecy in Chennai by Governor Vidyasagar Rao. He was interim chief minister twice when Jayalalithaa stepped down due to cases against her, and then chief minister following her death on December 5, 2016. His close aide K Pandiarajan was sworn-in as minister for Tamil official language and Tamil culture.
As Jayalalithaa died, on mysterious circumstances, Sasikala and her brother Dinakaran were not in the party posts, and both were kept away from party and government. By Jayalalithaa who knew very well about the Sasikala family.
By using the sudden illness of CM Jaya and her admission in the Apollo Hospital, the Sasikala and her gang took control of the party and government, and she planned to take both the party and government into her own hands and end Jayalithaa rule. Sasikala and Dinakaran and some AIAMDMK MLAs and ministers hated OPS because Jayalalithaa chose him to head the government in her absence in the jail and did not trust them at all.
Now OPS is back in the government as Deputy CM and all tricks of Sasikala and Dinakaran and a few anti-Jayalithaa people who are now with Dinakaran and Sasikala.
A few Sasikala supports emerged all of a sudden one of them is Pukazhendi who wanted to control the government and party but now in despairs as OPS and EPS have joined, and highly disappointed Pukazendi is angry as he seems to be controlling some parts of finances of Sasikala and arranging for special privileges in jail for the prisoner Sasikala. .
Sasikala, who over night declared herself as “chinnamma” (little mother) to fool the grief struck people of Tamil Nadu particularly the AIADMK party cadres, quickly acted to take over the party and arranged her own swearing in ceremony as CM on the eve of her jail life, and also threw OP Pannerselvam from the party.
Had Sasikala allowed OPS to continue as CM and party treasurer, there would have been a smooth functioning of government and party. But Sasikala and her large family had ulterior motives, and she is now in jail while OPS is back in the government and party.
Senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam said Steps would be taken to remove AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala by convening the general council meeting. Vaithilingam, a leader of the Palaniswami camp, addressing the merger meet at the party headquarters here, said measures would be initiated soon to remove Sasikala. By making the announcement, the Palaniswami camp has conceded a key demand of the Panneerselvam faction for the merger that took place today. Vaithilingam, a former minister, was named party deputy coordinator just before he addressed the meet.
Ahead of the merger, an AIADMK functionary Avadi Kumar told reporters that it was the general council which elected Sasikala and any subsequent action in respect of her expulsion can be taken only by it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured all possible support to the E K Palaniswami government of Tamil Nadu in which O Panneerselvam was inducted as Deputy Chief Minister following the merger of two AIADMK factions. Soon after the swearing-in, Modi congratulated Panneerselvam and others who took the oath. “Centre assures all possible support to CM Thiru Edappadi K Palaniswami & Dy CM Thiru O Panneerselvam for the growth of TN,” he added in another tweet.
Of course, now it is the end game for “chinnamma and chinnanna” in Tamil politics and Tamil Nadu.
Instead of further precipitate the issue Sasikala would do better by leaving the ruling party one for all. She must also direct the MLAs who are supporting her to rejoin the ruling AIADMK as the party does not belong to her.