Sasikala unlikely to imitate Jayalalithaa soon; here is why

Except for a period of four months when she fell out of favour with Jayalalithaa, Sasikala had lived the life of a true companion in Jayalalithaa’s life.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Updated: February 9, 2017 3:14 pm
Sasikala, jayalalithaa, jayalalitha, jaya, amma, j jayalalithaa, sasikala, aiadmk, sasikala news, aiadmk sasikala, sasikala general secretary, v k sasikala, sasikala aiadmk According to people close to Vedanilayam, Sasikala was an essential part of Jayalalithaa’s life. (Illustration by Manali Ghosh)

Those who are curious and concerned at Sasikala’s next move should not forget that she lived with Jayalalithaa for about three decades from 1987, and knew her personally from 1984. Even after her husband M Natarajan, a former government PRO and a sympathiser of Dravidian politics, was thrown out of ‘Vedanilayalm’ in Poes Garden in 1990, Sasikala did not join her husband but lived with Jayalalithaa until her death. Except for a period of four months when she fell out of favour with Jayalalithaa, Sasikala had lived the life of a true companion in Jayalalithaa’s life.

WATCH VIDEO | Panneerselvam Plans To Convert Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden Residence Into Amma Memorial

According to people close to Vedanilayam, Sasikala was an essential part of Jayalalithaa’s life. She did everything from folding bedsheets to taking care of her health to running and controlling party organs including Jaya TV. Possibly the only thing that Sasikala did not do was to exhibit her political talents before public.

But she always accompanied Jayalalithaa on her temple visits, her poll campaigns as well as to private functions and her holidays in Kodanadu Estate. Moreover, Sasikala was the messenger and deal-broker of the party in poll alliance talks with smaller parties in Tamil Nadu including the CPI and CPI(M). She is considered the brain behind appointments, and she wielded powers in distributing MLA seats. She had the power to transfer top bureaucrats; according to top police officers, they were more comfortable dealing with Sasikala than Jayalalithaa who could be short tempered and unpredictable.

Public sentiments against Sasikala is largely on three factors: the criminal activities of her relatives (known as Mannargudi Mafia – as her family hails from Mannargudi), an alleged and baseless story from 2011 on Sasikala’s attempts to poison Jayalalithaa, and the mystery surrounding Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and limited information on her health until the day of her death.

However, none of the leaders at different levels – from district secretaries to MLAs, MPs and ministers — have criticised Sasikala’s leadership so far. According to a senior leader, hardly anyone would even privately share an opinion against Sasikala. “The leaders, not the cadres will elect the party General Secretary and so Sasikala is having a smooth entry into the party leadership,” he said. However, he added that the party would perish if Sasikala did not keep her relatives away from power.

The rumours of her attempts to poison Jayalalithaa, “a lie that was established by a national magazine in 2012,” according to a senior police officer who served at the state intelligence during that period, will, however, continue to haunt the minds of people having no direct access to information. Also they have enough reasons to imagine and expect such acts from ‘Mannargudi Mafia’, thanks to those extra constitutional activities, crimes, land grabbing and extortion rackets ran by her family members during the 1991-96 regime.

Conspiracy theories surrounding Jayalalithaa’s treatment have still to die down as the communication between the state health secretary J Radhakrishnan and doctors — including the AIIMS team — leaked out in the media and indicates that her treatment was not a private affair between Sasikala and Apollo Hospital, but it was an official affair involving the state government.

How fast could there be a transition of power in the AIADMK?

Sasikala is unlikely to imitate Jayalalithaa anytime soon. She is unlikely to demand the chief minister’s post either particularly because of her lack of experience in the assembly where the Opposition is powerful with over 80 DMK MLAs who are well versed in politics and administration, unlike AIADMK leaders.

“If she could control the entire party, why she should go for the CM post that demands oratorial skills in the assembly, facing the wrath of people for good or bad, receiving VIPs and foreign dignitaries etc?” asks a leader close to her camp.

Another reason is the pending disproportionate assets case in the Supreme Court. Although the party leadership is confident that the corruption case wouldn’t be a threat any more as Jayalalithaa (the prime accused) is no more. “She is unlikely to grab the CM post from Paneerselvam. The post of general secretary is already at her disposal, so either she will choose that or create another post for herself, leaving the top post vacant for the late Jayalalithaa,” said another leader.

A top level AIADMK meeting to be held soon will take a final call on the post of general secretary before December 31.

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  1. A
    Australian open
    Feb 14, 2017 at 8:21 am
    catch all latest news and updates on sasikala verdict and new cm to tamilnadu
    1. D
      Durgasharan Krishnamurthy
      Feb 11, 2017 at 11:06 am
      Is this Indian express? Hard to believe that this is the same paper of Ramnath Goenka and Arun Shourie. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What kind of article is this? From when has IE become the mouth piece of individuals? Is this the journalism of courage? What are the owners of IE doing? I appeal to Shekhar Gupta to do something even though he is no longer with the paper. This is sad.
      1. P
        Jan 8, 2017 at 7:58 pm
        Annadurai cm constructed the party, cm mgr gave lige and beauty, cm jayalalithaa is the soul. She is smart, Gud political strategy as she never told about political Vaarisu. She knew who her friends are and their intention. After the soul I will see jaya Amma in another person and party, no more sunrise coffee or leaf. She put an end to this cult silently. She has the capacity to gain power by just speaking about her service for people but can her party people and friends gain a seat. Thinking
        1. P
          Jan 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm
          Once we decide not to support a unworthy person then let us think of India growth and change the tamilnadu political cult. Just pour milk in the pot do not think what the other person is doing or saying. For everything there is an end. Even this two major party will die out and there will be new faces to rule us. It is law of nature. Thanks Amma for your gud scheme and I admire you for being silent about your party. You are farsighted thus saved tamilnadu by not nominating any political progeny. You left it to God and to intelligent people. I am sure you will place us in safe and Gud hands working from Haven.
          1. L
            Lord Shiva
            Dec 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm
            Absolute nonsense. How can someone worked with Amma, maid, servant, boy or girl friend, bodyguard, istant can carry the touch? Why OPS Deepa, Ama's niece not considered? Those who betra Amma were around Amma's coffin indicates there is conspiracy.
            1. C
              Currently Amma
              Dec 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm
              September 8 2016 When supreme court announced justice would be delivered within one month on DA Case. The co accused should not be allowed to stay together at any cost by Judges. Its a high profile case, events turn out black on Sept 22 before verdict and she got admitted in hosiptal and died on Dec 5. Media is a full of false fabrication. How can a call from Delhi result in heart attack for Jayalaitha? What ever the verdict it should be by judge and by not politicians or middle mans?
              1. C
                Currently Amma
                Dec 19, 2016 at 1:50 pm
                The Same Sasikala and Ilavarasi bought jazz cinemas in a wonderful business deal, a Harvard Business Case Study. They are now running for Supreme post of aiadmk. Newcomers in Poitics its right time to strike TN POLITICS. Respected leaders of Different Parties and Federations COngress, BJP, DMK, PMK, VCK, Aam Aadmi, Rajini, VIjay, Ajith, Subramania Swamy, all come forward to battle for TN State Welfare including AIADMK party workers. Democracy is looking for new face and change in the game.
                1. B
                  Dec 20, 2016 at 8:33 am
                  Seriously...From where these people become journalist??? If I have a cook or servant for many years then I should give him/her my all properties,power etc etc..What trash logic is this..."folding her bed sheets"...Just see the logic..God save us.
                  1. K
                    Krishnan Iyer
                    Dec 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm
                    What is the phone call from Delhi you are referring to? lt;br/gt;See this is for certain that JJ had begun to get weaker from 2014 itself. Watch her appearance and movement in 2013 and compare it with those of 2015. She could barely walk. lt;br/gt;There was a leaked email of Apollo that says that the hospital chiefs had confirmed that she was being administered harmful medicines as 'treatment for diabetes'. lt;br/gt;She MAY have fallen ill on 22 Sep. However, what followed after that was a total conspiracy and it is likely that after necessary executions of the 2015 plans had taken place including the coup and other things, the Mafia got taken by shock that she survived through despite everything. lt;br/gt;Then on 4th someone might have administered cardiac arrest inducing toxins. That is the ONLY possibility. No one out of the blue gets a cardiac arrest and dies just like that. The heart is much more stronger than we think and can survive through severe stress. Also, the patient will start showing signs of weakening heart that can't go unnoticed like that. Then when Cho Ramaswamy perhaps intervened in the matter or questioned whatever nonsense transpired, whoever this bloody fool asin was might have done the same to him too. Note that Cho was specifically admitted to the SAME hospital.
                    1. M
                      Dec 20, 2016 at 9:07 pm
                      One of the worst article. Shame on you Indian Express !
                      1. N
                        Dec 19, 2016 at 6:34 pm
                        How much are you paid for this article, sir? And, this paper is shamelessly publishing it!
                        1. C
                          Chandran Kumar
                          Dec 19, 2016 at 1:14 pm
                          It seems completely paid article..."One police officer says Sasikala didn't poison Jaya.That's complete baseless."..If that is so then why jaya didn't file defamation suit against tehelka magazine.It also known to all that TN bureaucracy is appointed by mannargudi mafia..
                          1. R
                            Dec 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm
                            Sir: The tragedy of Tamil Nadu politics will unfortunately continue. When will politicians get away from the personality cult and hero worship of leaders? There are lots of people,talented, qualified, well educated, and capable of running the state with intelligence and expertise. Sadly they will not be considered by politicians with a slave mentality and loyalty only to their;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rolland
                            1. S
                              Dec 20, 2016 at 9:19 pm
                              Nice article
                              1. T
                                thirumal valavan
                                Dec 19, 2016 at 5:07 pm
                                Know what is more shameless than ADMK leaders supporting Sasikala..its spineless third rate journalists like these. The general secretary post is already at her disposal?? Seriously..The justification for that is Sasikala was Jaya's aide for decades. Shame on you!
                                1. T
                                  True Patriot
                                  Dec 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm
                                  I am not surprised since I have seen experienced ministers in Khangress acting spineless in front of Italian waitress and her family. Very sad situation :(
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