Tamil Nadu

Support coalescing for Sasikala within AIADMK

Paying homage: Sasikala at Jayalalithaa’s burial site on the Marina in Chennai on Friday.  

Providing clear signals that V.K. Sasikala will not face too many hurdles in gaining and probably even holding on to the reins of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, a section of leaders in the party on Friday openly hailed her as the natural political heir of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, whose confidante she was.

Even some of those who were earlier seen as possible stumbling blocks to her perceived political aspirations have declared that they would be loyal to the party.

On Friday, for the second consecutive day, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his senior Cabinet colleagues met ‘Chinna Amma’ (younger mother) at ‘Veda Nilayam’ here and held discussions with her for nearly three hours.

 

Separately, she summoned several senior leaders, though there were no indications that she openly solicited support from any of them. Many ministers, bureaucrats and police officers too were seen in Poes Garden. Senior party leaders, including Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal and former Minister Pollachi V. Jayaraman, met Ms. Sasikala. Later in the evening, the Chief Minister and his senior Cabinet colleagues were seen patiently waiting behind a barricade when Ms. Sasikala went to pay homage at the spot on the Marina where Jayalalithaa was buried.

“Sasikala looked extremely tired as she has spent more than 70 days in hospital [when Jayalalithaa was being treated]. We told them we are with her. I think almost every single leader is rallying behind her. She may not have the brilliance of Jayalalithaa, but must have learnt a lot by her close association with her. She excels in back room political manoeuvres,” said a senior party leader.

 

One leader asserted that he saw “Amma in Chinna Amma.”

Former Minister and AIADMK MLA K.A. Sengottaiyan, who was believed to have been in a dilemma over extending support to Ms. Sasikala, closed ranks on Friday, saying he would remain loyal to the party and its leadership till his last breath. He threatened to take legal action against those spreading rumours about his political stand “with a view to creating confusion in the party”.

In a parallel development, MP from Coimbatore A.P. Nagarajan, former MLA V.R Rajangam and a few others released advertisements in newspapers inviting Ms. Sasikala to take over the mantle of the party and administration.

Mr. Nagarajan, who is the AIADMK’s Coimbatore City unit presidium chairman, asked: “It is ‘Chinna Amma’ who fulfilled Amma’s wishes when she was alive. She sacrificed her family life for the sake of Amma. Who will come forward to even leave her husband to take care of Amma?” In an advertisement issued under his name Mr. Nagarajan is quoted as saying: “Yesterday MGR left Amma as an asset and today Amma has left Chinna Amma as an asset [for the party].” Another advertisement compared the friendship between Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala to the friendship between the Mahabharatha characters Karna (and Duryodhana).

‘A vicious campaign’

Mr. Nagarajan rejected suggestions that Ms. Sasikala would not gain acceptance among party cadres and the general public, and said it was but a vicious campaign by the DMK through social media. “Amma declared that the AIADMK would survive for a hundred years even after her lifetime. The DMK leadership knows the AIADMK will remain united if Chinna Amma became the leader of the party and is making all efforts to prevent her from taking the mantle,” he told The Hindu.

 

Not on caste lines

He said the AIADMK since the days of MGR never entertained any attempt to split the party on caste lines. “Amma gave adequate representation to the Gounder community, and ministers from the community are holding very important portfolios. But now it is being projected as if they have been sidelined. Such issues are being raised only to undermine the unity in the party,” Mr. Nagarajan alleged.

Mr. Rajangam said he saw “Amma in Chinna Amma.” He contended: “She protected Amma from her enemies for over three decades. When she was in jail none of her family members bothered to visit Amma. It was Chinna Amma who stood by her during turbulent times.”


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:31:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Support-coalescing-for-Sasikala-within-AIADMK/article16786836.ece

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