In a way this was a crisis waiting to hit the AIADMK. The lack of a leadership pyramid has been one of the biggest undoings of the party nurtured by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. When she died, O. Panneerselvam appeared the natural choice, having filled in for Amma many times before. While OPS had control of the government, Sasikala’s sudden claim to majority of the party’s legislators has clearly caught the CM off guard.
The protracted tussle between the two for the throne is rooted in the way the party has functioned over the past three decades. Both MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa ran the party with unprecedented and undisputed control and support from cadre and party delegates.
WATCH VIDEO | Sasikala Breaks Down While Addressing AIADMK MLAs
The handover from MGR to Jayalalithaa was a coup to say the least and Jayalalithaa came on top despite being out of MGR’s inner circles in the last years of his life. A similar scenario is unfolding now as Sasikala moves to trump the established leaders, elected representatives and office bearers to emerge as their supreme commander. Despite seeing a few defections to the OPS camp, Sasikala still seems firmly in control of the MLAs holed up in the resort.
While MGR and Jayalalithaa helped the party flourish, they are responsible for the leadership crisis by not letting a second rung take roots. The way things are going, the AIADMK will continue to be a personality led party. The MLAs will line up behind the stronger personality as they are used to being submissive to a strong larger than life leader. Without no such leader to look up to, it might be tough to keep the flock together.
Since Jayalalithaa took charge, she controlled each and every organ of the party, decided on the smallest to the biggest of issues concerning the party and the government and performed admirably in keeping her flock of followers in the party devoted to her. She, however, didn’t groom any successor. Maybe a leader growing in stature would have become a source of insecurity.
Today, however, is it right to blame the governor for the impending split in the party? No. The party has brought the situation on itself. It is not prudent for the governor to rush into inviting Sasikala to form the government till it is clear what the status within the ruling party is. Sadly, no one seems to have a clear picture on that.