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Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 12:38 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 12:38 AM (IST)

The Sasikala saga over

A significant moment in Tamil Nadu politics
The Sasikala saga over
The riveting political drama in Tamil Nadu has produced one more dramatic act. The two warring factions in the AIADMK have come together to remove Sasikala as the party chief. Nine months ago Ms Sasikala had manipulated the AIADMK leaders to get herself anointed as the party chief; then, she made a move to get herself installed as Chief Minister. It was only the timely intervention of the apex court that saw her going to jail instead of to the Secretariat. But before going to jail to serve out a four-year conviction in a disproportionate assets case, Ms Sasikala brazenly appointed her nephew as the new (officiating) party boss. That was a case of overreach and invited opposition and resistance from all, including those who had temporarily aligned themselves with her in the usurpation of party gaddi. 

After months of intra-party squabbles and the imminent danger of getting the party symbol frozen permanently, the factions smoked the peace pipe. The ousted Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam, settled for a deputy chief ministership; and now the two groups have joined hands to abolish altogether the post of general secretary, manufacturing a very filmy fiction that none can be deemed qualified to occupy the office once held by MGR and later by Jayalalithaa, and, that Jayalalithaa would remain the party’s permanent general secretary. 

All these manoeuvres are being undertaken by (mostly) men who never aspired to any leadership position and were content to be doormat for the great leader. That these hitherto spineless men have gathered the courage to defy someone who claims to have had a special relationship with the “leader”, is a significant moment in Tamil Nadu politics. It was abhorring in the first instance that Ms Sasikala should have come so close to occupying the chief ministerial gaddi just because she was a glorified chambermaid in the Jayalalithaa household. It was the backwardness of the Dravidian politics that allowed this woman to become even general secretary.  The rest of the country would watch with fascination as these Lilliputians learn the democratic habit of cooperation, coexistence and compromise in order to pursue a larger political agenda and vision.

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