India: Tamil Nadu politics: Sasikala-Dinakaran duo weakened ruling AIADMK!

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (L), AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran (C) and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami (R). Credit: The Indian Express

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

People of Tamil Nadu, as well as entire nation, are concerned about the conspiratorial death of their beloved leader and CM of the state J. Jayalalithaa who had given everything in her life to make very strong the ruling AIADMK party, had left behind by her leader and the founder of MGR.

It appears the sudden end of one of the most popular politicians- if not the most important and most popular regional leader at that- Jayalalithaa was the preplanned operation very tactfully executed by Sasikala and Dinakaran who used their relatives even to treat Jayalalithaa at Poes Garden leading to her irregular heath conditions and eventual hospitalization to breath last.
The hidden agenda of the f duo was to take over the government, the rich ruling party and the wealth and cash of Jayalalithaa as she had no husband or children to claim that- she has only distant relatives whom she did not let live with her in her Poes Garden bungalow in Chennai which is valued about 100 crores.

Not only the Opposition DMK but even Sasikala-Dinakaran duo has been focused only on the Madras Fort- the seat state administration. When the ambitious planner Sasikala was sent to jail for their financial crimes, she quickly made her nephew Dinakaran who had been removed by Jayalalithaa from the party long back, to take over the party as her Deputy and he managed to collect a few MLAs, who opposed – rather hated- both Jayalalithaa and her CM nominee Pannerselvam, to execute his project of becoming the party- government chief.

Like Sasikala, Dinakaran was also in a hurry to take power and wealth of Jayalalithaa and AIADMK. Both consider the state – not just the ruling party and government- as their own private property and apparently they just waited for the exit of Jayalalithaa to execute their plan by using the party leaders who are grief slicken owing to the sudden demise of their leader without leaving any truly worthy leader to be accepted by the people.

Sasikala very systematically used the opportunity, most likely created by her and her people, including in the Apollo hospital, to easily step into the Jaya’s shoes.
Of course, there is no clear v cut proof for fixing Sasikala for the shocking demise of former CM Jayalalithaa, who had been not an ordinary chief minister or usual leader.
Hopefully, the Justice Arumugasamy whom the Tamil Nadu government has appointed to probe the death of Jayalalithaa would reveal the whole truth about everything concerning her last part of her political life and her government as well as her death.

People have the right to know the whole truth about the real cause of their charismatic leader Jayalalithaa’s death-when and how did she die?
The sudden death of Jayalalithaa did create a vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics, especially in the ruling AIADMK and government and it looked without her the part would not survive longer. But Sasikala and Dinakaran have further harmed the party by their conspiratorial political operations. So much so, if elections were to take place today, the DMK, waiting in the wings, would emerge victorious as their vote share in the assembly poll was very close to that of AIADMK under powerful Jayalalithaa who opted to face the electorate without any political coalition with BJP or any other big parties.

But on 5 December 2016, to the surprise and shock of many of her followers, Jayalalithaa passed away. While the doctors said that Jayalalithaa suffered a massive cardiac arrest, the whispers surrounding the circumstances and nature of her death refused to go away.

On 25 September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government constituted an inquiry commission headed by Justice A Arumugasamy to look into the circumstances leading up to the death of the former chief minister.

One thing is becoming clear by now to the public that none met Jayalalithaa in the Apollo Hospital during her treatment for 75 days. Days after startling claims made by Tamil Nadu forest minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan that no state minister was allowed to see the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa when she was in the hospital, and that they had lied to the public about seeing her in the hospital, AIADMK imposed a gag order on its ministers to not talk about events related to Jayalalithaa’s days in hospital.

In his comments, Sreenivasan had said, “We would have told lies that she (Jayalalithaa) had idlis and people met her. The truth is that nobody saw her,” adding that even the national leaders used to sit in Apollo Hospital’s chief Pratap Reddy’s room along with the AIADMK ministers.

Sreenivasan claims were refuted by Tamil Nadu minister Sellur K Raju, and state law minister CV Shanmugham evaded the question asked by the media. The state forest minister had also claimed that only Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala used to meet her. However, Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran said that after 1 October 2016, even Sasikala was not allowed inside Jayalalithaa’s room.

Incidentally, Sreenivasan in March this year had given a clean chit to Sasikala and her family members saying that there was nothing suspicious about Jayalalithaa’s treatment or death.

Reacting to Sreenivasan’s allegations, Dhinakaran has demanded a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death. Talking on the issue, he said, “Only when there is a CBI probe, can the ministers, who are making contradictory remarks (on meeting Jayalalithaa when she was hospitalized), be questioned.”

In the past, Dhinakaran had accused the state government of trying to use “the doubts over Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) death” to “divert” the attention from its misgovernance. He had also warned that the Palaniswamy government would be sent home soon.
Palaniswamy and Dhinakaran are engaged in a tussle for power, with the latter accusing the chief minister of “betraying” Sasikala, who had nominated him to the top party post in February, following a revolt by Panneerselvam, reported PTI.

On 22 September 2016, Jayalalithaa was rushed to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital due to illness. During her stay, the government and hospital periodically released information stating that the AIADMK chief was on the road to recovery.

Initiating such a probe was a key pre-condition of former rebel AIADMK leader and now Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam for merging the party faction led by him with the one led by chief minister Palaniswamy. The two factions had merged on 21 August. However, all doesn’t seem well within the newly united AIADMK with former AIADMK MP KC Palanisamy submitting an affidavit before the Election Commission of India stating that an election must be held for the post of the party’s general secretary.

Following the unification of the two factions led by chief minister Palaniswamy and his deputy Panneerselvam, a decision was taken at the party’s ‘general council’ to form a new organizational hierarchy sans the post of general secretary.

The latest move seems to be the result of an inner power struggle between Panneerselvam and Palaniswamy.
However, nothing can be said with absolute certainty at this point as reported in the media that some people think that Palanisamy was fighting a battle on Panneerselvam’s behalf to ensure that the latter eventually emerged as general secretary of the AIADMK, others think that the ex-MP’s intention was to draw attention to the neglect that some of those like him were feeling due to the diminished role of Panneerselvam in the reorganized party structure.

Meanwhile, controversial AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who has been sidelined by the party top-brass, was on Monday booked by the Chennai police for distributing pamphlets allegedly containing defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palanisami.
Dhinakaran, along with ten others including former MLA Venkatachalam and local AIADMK functionary Saravan, were detained by a complaint that was filed, alleging that the pamphlets were being distributed outside a hall where the CM was holding a meeting. The pamphlets contained “derogatory remarks” against the prime minister and the chief minister, the police said.
Dhinakaran and his loyalists P Vetrivel, one of the 18 AIADMK MLAs recently disqualified from the Tamil Nadu Assembly under the anti-defection law, and V Pugazhenthi have also been named as accused in the case, the police said.

This is the second case slapped against Dhinakaran, who is engaged in a tussle for power with Palaniswami, by the state police.
Earlier, the sidelined AIADMK leader, along with Tamil actor and party functionary Senthil, had been booked for allegedly making defamatory remarks against P Kumar, the party MP from Tiruchirappalli. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had restrained the Tiruchirappalli police from arresting them.
Responding to the latest case against him, Dhinakaran alleged that it was filed since his rival Palaniswami “is the police minister.”

The chief minister also holds the Home portfolio, under which comes the police department. “This government is anyway going to fall. They are doing such these things since he (Palaniswami) is the police minister…Let them do what they want. The AIADMK supporters and the people are going to send them home,” Dhinakaran told reporters in Chennai.

A year after the death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, her nephew J Deepak on Monday said the Z plus security personnel were not present at Apollo Hospital when she was admitted there.
In an interview to Tamil television channel Thanthi TV, Deepak, the son of Jayalalithaa’s brother, said that she was provided Z plus security and while he had visited Apollo Hospital for 60 days during her 75-day stay, he never saw the central security and wondered why it was removed.

“No minister visited Jayalalithaa when she was in the hospital,” Deepak said.
Jayalalithaa’s close aide of several decades the jailed VK Sasikala had looked after the former very well, Deepak said. He said during her hospital stay starting 22 September 2016, Jayalalithaa was conscious only for three days.

Deepak said that his aunt was not conscious when Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited her, though it was officially said Jayalalithaa showed thumbs-up sign to Governor Rao. “I haven’t signed any papers in Apollo Hospital. Sasikala has signed the papers in the hospital,” Deepak said.
According to him, as a relative of Jayalalithaa, he had given the oral sanction to stop the life support systems like ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine. He also said delinking Sasikala and Dhinakaran from AIADMK is good for the party.

Of course, there are so many questions to the issue puzzling the public and will the Justice find answers to all of them?
That is indeed one million dollar question.

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Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.