Jayalalitha, Sasikala and Succession War

A wise politician had said, “when a big tree falls, earth shakes”. This prophecy followed loss of lives of many people in Delhi. Recently, it appears similar prophecy coming true in Tamil Nadu after demise of chief minister J Jayalalitha. Looking at the faces of supporters and well wisher of the departed chief minister, when she was in her sickbed, it may appear Ms. Jayalalitha was a saint. Ordinary people came from far and wide of the state and sat outside the hospital praying. Yet, hardly a month after her passing away, supreme court of India passed a verdict convicting her in disproportionate asset case. While her supporters demanded nothing less than a posthumous Bharat Ratna for Ms. Jayalalitha, for others she was noting more than a criminal who had amassed ill-gotten wealth using her position of power.

Turmoil, however, started almost immediately after Jayalalitha was buried. Jalikattu protest started demanding initiation of ancient bull taming sport. Two oil tankers collided, and famous Marina beach of Chennai was polluted, Not to mention of unimaginable damage to marine flora and fauna. Man who deflty managed unrest and accident, the man who was handpicked by Ms. Jayalalitha to become chief minister, Mr. O Panner Selvam, was asked to resign and give up chief minister’s chair in favour of Ms. Sasikala. Not only that, same corrupt and dubious relatives of Ms Sasikala, people that were estranged by Ms. Jayalalitha, were given party posts to strengthen hold of Ms. Sasikala. 

Is this a victory for democracy? No body knows. It is true, Ms. Sasikala and her chosen chief minister had the number. People on the street, however, had not faith on leadership of Sasikala controlled government. Quite unusual for an AIADMK member, Mr. OPS, out going chief minister, found enough courage to revolt against Sasikala. Was he goaded by some inimical power? He, however, did not have number. Ms. Sasikala if she had so many MLAs in her favour, what was her hurry to become chief minister so soon? Was there any interior motive?

n the whole saga, Tamil Nadu governor has come under a lot of fire. While purists have suggested governor should have called Ms. Sasikala to form government, because she had number. This would have maintained neutrality and objectivity of a constitution authority. On the other hand, it has been argued that governor is not a robot. It is good that governor has used his judgement, he had weighed different pros and con and then only invited Mr. Palanisami to form government by proving his majority.

There was anger on the streets of Chennai over Ms Sasikala’sa attempt at grabbing power. There was anger at naked manipulation of the system and concentrating power in the hand of family, namely family of Sasikala. Mr. Kamal Hassan has dubbed Tamil Nadu government as criminal conglomerate. Yet, citizens are helpless because show has changed into a numbers game. Despite efforts of Mr. O Panner Selvam, Ms. Sasikala had number on her side. Despite allegation that MLAs were held hostage in a resort, numbers still held. At this time, Ms Sasikala’s chosen chief minister, Mr. Palanisami, has won a trust vote in assembly. 


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