Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a series of dramatic events with the acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam who assumed the post after the death of former CM Jayalalitha in December, resigning on Sunday and AIADMK General Secretaryand V K Sasikala, prepping to become the Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court is set to deliver its verdict next week on the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala, also a close aide of the late Chief Minister Jayalalitha. Panneerselvamin an unexpected move on Tuesday night, openly hit out against Sasikala, hinting of a split in the party. He said that he was forced to resign and that Revenue Minister UdayaKumar told him that Sasikalashould be made the CM.
With the party’s organizing secretary, former MP, MLA and Speaker P H Pandian also lashing out against Sasikala, Tamil Nadu politics has been flung into uncertainty. Pandian’s allegations that Jayalalitha’s death was ‘unnatural’ and that it was conspired by Sasikala is certain to make the atmosphere volatile. That fact that Sasikala’s leadership and her unquestionable repute has been openly questioned is more relevant than the extent of credibility of the AIADMK veteran’s shocking revelations.
Those who play behind Sasikalaare least likely to desert her. Chinnamaas she is known, was once ousted from Pois Gardens by Jayalalitha; but reclaimed everything during the latter’s final days capitalizing on the sentiments of immense love and closeness of the Tamilians towards their Amma.
Although it was Sheela Thomas, a Keralite and former Chief Secretary, who controlled the Tamil Nadu government during times of uncertainty and instability, the public façade was always Sasikala. With Jayalalitha’s niece DeepaJayakumar joining the anti-Sasikala voices along with the allegations raised by Pandian, one is yet to see Sasikala’s survival tactics to counter the mounting resistance.
The reluctance of the Governor in declining to swear in Sasikala also reinforces the hints. Many believe that the haste, in forcing Panneerselvam to step down and become the Chief Minister, has landed Sasikala in trouble. If she had shown the patience to reach the Assembly through the by-election in Jayalalitha’sconstituency, necessitated by her death, she could have played all the games safer. Although Panneerselvam has been running the government smoothly, things are not as they are seen from outside.
The Dravidian politics that redrafted the Tamil history after the tenure of K Kamaraj has always produced governments in which political maturity, governing skill, and statesmanship had very little role.Dravidian politics which was a jumble of anti-Brahmin and anti-Hindi sentiments, movie mania and Tamil nationalism, progressed under the leadership of C N Annadurai, K Karunanidhi and M G Ramachandran. However, when Jayalalitha, a Brahmin woman, rose through the ranks and took control of the reigns, under the sole consideration of being MGR’s ‘heroine’, the state witnessed significant changes. She became Amma to the Tamilians providing them with items ranging from rice to laptops and TV free of charge thereby successfully luring in supporters.
When tales of corruption depress the people, it wasn’t tough for Jayalalitha to reclaim the loss. The fact that nobody had the right to point fingers at others as far as corruption was concerned, also proved a blessing for her. When she succumbed to fate, Jayalalitha had left behind a state which indulged in ‘cost-free’ and hardwork-free life, and possessing an obsession for Jallikettu.Devoted, skilled leaders with foresightedness are needed to help the people end their laziness and imprudence and transform them into dynamic citizens with a sense of responsibility. But in the present circumstances, there are no such leaders right now. Other national parties including the Left seems to have just a sole agenda of pocketing some seat by banking on any of the Dravidian parties.