Sasikala keeps waiting for her swearing-in
On Monday, Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao accepted the resignation handed to him by O Panneerselvam. However, he also requested Panneerselvam and his cabinet to continue "until further arrangements are made." Till late Monday, there was no word from the Governor on the date and time of Sasikala's swearing in as the new Chief Minister.
Born in 1957, Sasikala Natarajan hails from southern Tamil Nadu's Mannargudi. Her meeting with Jayalailthaa came about in the 1980s through her husband Natarajan, who was a public relations officer with the State Information Department. At the time Jayalalithaa was a functionary in the AIADMK party. Their friendship became strong after the death of Amma's mentor, and the former CM MG Ramachandran.
In 1988 Sasikala moved to Jayalalithaa's residence and soon Natarajan family gained a strong foothold over the latter's life. The family grew very close to Jayalalithaa that she adopted Sasikala's nephew Sudhakaran as her foster son and spent huge sum of money on his wedding in 1995. The lavish wedding also drew a lot of censure from the public.
Sasikala and her kin with their strong reach within AIADMK, famously came to be known as the "Mannargudi Mafia".
Jayalalithaa distanced herself from Sasikala on two occasions - once in 1996 and again in 2011. When AIADMK lost assembly elections in 1996, Jayalalithaa blamed Sasikala for the it and temporarily kept the Natarajan family at a distance. She was back to being friends with Sasikala soon after. In 2011, she expelled Natarajan and many of her family members from the AIADMK for "betrayal".
Less than 4 months after expulsion from the party in Dec 2011, Sasikala was welcomed back by Jayalalithaa, when she vowed to severe ties with all her relatives.
Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam, accompanied by ministers Edappadi K Palaniswami, Dindigul C Sreenivasan, P Thangamani and S P Velumani visited Poes Garden to meet Jayalalithaa's close aide Sasikala Natrajan. The move indicates an immediate power-shift within the AIADMK at a time when the post of General Secretary remains vacant. Several other junior ministers also visited Poes Garden after the CM.
Amid calls for Sasikala Natrajan to take over as AIADMK general secretary, Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa's niece called the move "very unfortunate". She added that Sasikala and other AIADMK functionaries carried out activities behind Jayalalithaa's back and that had angered Amma; she hinted at possibly taking a plunge into politics. She said instead of appointing Sasikala, the party should take people's opinions into consideration.
V.K. Sasikala was appointed the general secretary of the AIADMK today. She is the 2nd woman and 6th person to hold this position. She greeted the people from the same balcony as Jayalalithaa and paid tribute to Amma. She thanked the party cadres for electing her and said that Amma's death was like a cloud bursting on their heads.
Two days after VK Sasikala took charge as AIADMK's general secretary, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai urged her to be the CM of the state. In a statement, Thambidurai said, "I humbly appeal to respected Chinnamma to take charge as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu immediately, by acceding to the wishes and requests of party workers and cadres like me."
On Tuesday, Deepa Jayakumar, niece of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that she has decided to enter politics to fulfill her aunt's dreams. At a press conference in her T Nagar home, Deepa said, "I can't see anyone in the place of Jayalalithaa. There are two options-one to join the AIADMK and the other, to launch a new party."
Sources revealed that V. K. Sasikala has been elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader. The AIADMK said on Twitter "Honourable CM O. Panneerselvam proposed the name of Chinnamma as the leader of AIADMK Legislature Party." Panneerselvam has reportedly resigned from the post. They followed up stating that "Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu."
General Secretary of Tamil Nadu's AIADMK, Sasikala was elected as the party's leader on Sunday, and is on her way to becoming the CM. On her elevation, Congress leader Chidambaram tweeted, "It is the right of the AIADMK members to elect their leader. It is the right of the people to ask if the leader deserves to be the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister."
Soon after it was announced that Sasikala will become Tamil Nadu's CM, '#TNSaysNo2Sasi', '#Sasikala' and '#SasikalaNatarajan' started trending on Twitter. Cricketer R Ashwin tweeted, "To all the youngsters in Tamil Nadu, 234 job opportunities to open up shortly." However, he later clarified that the tweet was in regards to "a job creation drive." RSS idealogue, S Gurumurthy said no celebration followed the announcement.
On Monday, a PIL was filed in the SC seeking a restrain on Sasikala from being sworn-in as CM. The petitioner argued that a conviction in the DA case could lead to her resignation, which would further lead to law and order problems in TN.