Tamil Nadu

End to a 30-year-old relationship

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa with her friend Sasikala during an event in New Delhi. File photo

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa with her friend Sasikala during an event in New Delhi. File photo   | Photo Credit: R.V.Moorthy

With the expulsion of V.K. Sasikala, friend of Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalailthaa, from the party, their relationship, nearly 30 years old, has come to an end.

It began immediately after Ms. Jayalalithaa was drafted into the party in 1982 and, in January 1983, she became the propaganda secretary. Around this time, when Ms. Jayalalithaa went to address a rally in Cuddalore, the relationship had begun. Ms. Sasikala's husband, M. Natarajan, was a public relations officer of the State government, serving there. The ties between the two women grew closer as Ms. Sasikala, who was running a video parlour firm, would go along with Ms. Jayalalithaa to video record her political trips.

A couple of months after the 1989 Assembly elections, Mr. Natarajan had even alleged that he was arrested after he rejected the constant requests of police to release, what he called, Ms. Jayalalithaa's letter or resignation from the Assembly and statement, announcing her retirement from active politics.

Soon after, Mr. Natarajan fell out of favour with Ms. Jayalalithaa. In a statement issued by her in August 1992, she said that he had approached her for a seat during the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, but she had turned down his request.

Still, Ms. Sasikala continued to be Ms. Jayalalithaa's friend. After the AIADMK was routed in the 1996 Assembly elections and Ms Jayalalithaa herself lost in Bargur, some leaders had demanded that she distance herself from Ms. Sasikala. Their argument was that Ms. Sasikala had become an extra-constitutional authority under the AIADMK government.

Though she did not attach importance to this demand initially, she, in August 1996, declared that she had snapped ties with Ms Sasikala, who was, by then, under arrest. Ms. Sudhagaran would no longer be her foster son, Ms. Jayalalithaa said at the time.

But, that break was only a pause in their relationship as Ms. Sasikala came back to Poes Gardens some months later.

In 2000, Ms. Sasikala formally joined politics and became a member of the party's general council. Ms. Jayalalithaa considered the relationship so special that on the occasion of her 60 birthday in February 2008, she exchanged garlands with Ms. Sasikala.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 9:16:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/end-to-a-30yearold-relationship/article2729700.ece

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