AIADMK’s new ‘step mother’ boss Sasikala will trigger TN’s political chaos?

Will the ruling AIADMK’s new ‘step-mother-general secretary’ Sasikala succeed in triggering the end of Dravidian brand of politics in Tamil Nadu?





Why does the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam top brass want a step mother – the English rendering of the Tamil term Chinnammaa a.k.a. VK Sasikala – to head it?

How should one view the unusual set of events wherein sand-mining-buccaneer Sekar Reddy, a close confidante of recently ‘elected’ Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam [OPS] within 24 hours by income tax sleuths?

Is there a hidden meaning in the raids yielding hundreds of crores of black money and dozens of kilograms of gold in bar form in Sekar Reddy’s residence?

Do the above incidents convey a sinister meaning when juxtaposed with OPS beseeching a political nonentity – Sasikala Natarajan – to be the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu’s ruling party?

Why should several persons banished from her household and party by Jayalalithaa in 2011 suddenly acquire VVIP status – even before she was laid to rest?

Which set of events emboldened the recently jailed and bailed husband of Sasikala – Natarajan to publicly rub shoulders with the likes of Rahul Gandhi – during Jaya’s funeral?

Will Tamil Nadu be rid of the ‘Dravidian’ tag in its political scheme post Jaya?

Why is a section of Indian paid media according importance to a fading 47-year-old actress Gautami Tadimalla and an allegedly estranged niece Deepa? Whatever be the responses to their questions about the mystery surrounding the last days of Jayalalithaa , they will prove to be of no consequence at all in the swamp called TN politics! So why do that at all?

The logical answers to the above could reveal the murkiness of the impending political chaos in the hitherto peaceful state – Tamil Nadu. The ensuing anarchy may match the shameless jungle-raj prevalent in the north Indian cow-belt state of Bihar.

Behind those are two human denominators – India’s wiliest nonagenarian politician – Muthuvelar Karunanidhi and Dr Subramanian Swamy who are playing the latest political poker game in Tamil Nadu.

The duo is seemingly, diametrically opposed to each other politically. Yet, links between them and others raise Cain. They include: Apollo Hospital decision-makers, their connections with the telecom scandal connected to the Maran brothers, the friendship between the terrible-trio God-man Chandraswami-Pratap Reddy-Dr Swamy and the commercial umbilical cord between P Chidambaram’s daughter-in-law Srinidhi and the Apollo Hospital Group.

The pointers

Since 2012, it is public knowledge that Karunanidhi controls Jaya and the state government through his reported moll in the late CM’s household Sasikala.

It was Dr Swamy who sued Jaya for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income in 1996. The DMK took over the case. In the next parliamentary elections, Dr Swamy won from Madurai and went to Lok Sabha with support from the AIADMK! Meanwhile, Jaya’s demise has not exonerated her aide and alter ego – Sasikala by the courts in the matter concerning disproportionate assets.

To divert public attention from the vital parts of Tamil Nadu’s deceitful political drama, baseless rumours are being floated about the last days of Jaya in hospital.

One of them is that Jaya was brought in dead to Apollo Hospital 75 days before the final press release that pronounced her passing. The following are the obvious reasons:

        One of the persons who treated Jaya is Dr Richard John Beale of United Kingdom. A television channel has some footage of the treatment. Why should a doctor based in UK agree to pretend treating a dead woman?

        On October 26 2016, Dr Swamy, an avowed political adversary of Jayalalithaa tweeted that she had miraculously recovered. Why should someone at that level play a part in such an alleged charade?

However, there are a few hitherto unexplained ingredients in this political soap opera:

        On November 4 2016, Apollo Chairman PC Reddy said that Jayalalithaa had “completely recovered” and that it was up to her to decide when to go home.

        On December 4 2016, doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said Jaya had recovered completely.

        Within hours of this statement, the tidings of Jaya having suffered a cardiac arrest surfaced.

        On December 5 2016, around 4 p.m. television channels reported that Jaya had passed away and then ran a series of retractions on the basis of retraction statement issued by Apollo.

        The final bulletin that Jaya had passed away at 23-30 hours was issued a little after midnight.

Here is a minor check-list of VVIPs who visited Apollo Hospital but were not permitted to see Jaya:

October 7 2016 – Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

October 12 2016 – Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP President Amit Shah

The flip-flop over the death announcement and her life-long friend Cho being shifted to the ICCU – the same room as Jaya – around 4 pm – when none other than Jaya’s doctors were permitted to be in the same room raised several questions about the timing of the final press release about her death.

A logical ‘final diagnosis’ of a fatal political illness

        Jayalalithaa being alive and her continuing illness was to the advantage of Sasikala.

Sasikala is believed to have attempted to get the AIADMK legislators to declare her as the “accepted” political heir-CM from within the precincts of Apollo Hospital. The fulcrum of the plan was to make the development look like a decision by Jaya from her death bed later, sources said. AIADMK legislators had gathered at the Apollo Hospitals for this very purpose, reports averred. The idea was reportedly shot down by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, according to a senior journalist in Chennai, who wishes anonymity. Informed BJP sources said that the pliant OPS could be of more use to the ruling party at the centre to aid its growth in Tamil Nadu and not an ambitious Sasikala and her even more ambitious husband – Natarajan.

        An “arrangement” of sorts  was reportedly reached between Sasikala and OPS later that led to the latter being sworn in after midnight.

        Second guessing the BJP intentions – Sasikala and her Mannargudi Mafia allegedly decided to hit OPS – through his closest confidante Sekar Reddy through income tax raids – using the good offices of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, informed sources allege. Political observers in TN pointed out that it was a signal to all the AIADMK legislators to support the candidature of Sasikala as the all powerful General Secretary of AIADMK and the de facto CM.

        To rub it in, OPS was himself made to support Sasikala’s elevation as the party GS.

        The only logical explanation to these is one issue – the yet to be resolved matter pending in the Supreme Court – concerning the disproportionate assets – in which Sasikala continues to be a defendant.

That the AIADMK legislators and ministers are only interested in safeguarding their current positions is evident from one event. Unlike the drama that took place when Jaya was in hospital – when all of the ministers shed copious tears while being sworn in – none wept while being sworn in even as Jaya’s body was being prepared to lie in state at Rajaji Hall.


At the age of 94, former CM Karunanidhi is “imprisoned” on a sick bed and/or a wheel-chair and is also the sole ‘cementing factor’ within the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – led opposition.

Those controlling Karunanidhi’s movements include the ‘declared’ political heir and Leader of Opposition – MK Stalin, his challenger elder sibling MK Alagiri, litterateur daughter Kanimozhi, the cash rich Maran brothers and a hapless old guard with nowhere to go. All of them have fought a few of the others in recent times in their yen to don the political mantle of the party patriarch.

And then there is the 2G Spectrum Damocles’ Sword hanging over the heads of all the dramatis personae in the family.

Simply stated – the DMK’s attempt to capture power immediately would prove to be a no-brainer.

The situation suits Karunanidhi as he can pull down the current AIADMK government anytime as 42 ruling party legislators are reported to have quietly pledged support to the opposition in the event of a no-confidence motion against the ruling dispensation. That is 6 more than the one-third needed for an official split in the party.

The AIADMK has 137 legislators in the 234-member assembly.

The number required to topple the AIADMK applecart is 118 – an easily achievable number if push comes to shove for the DMK. But, such an arguable victory would prove to be pyrrhic as the ruling BJP at the centre may frown at such a move. In the present scenario, Stalin could approach the BJP, but, that too could prove politically suicidal as Modi could press for the dissolution of the house and order a fresh mandate.

Recently discharged from a hospital after a brief illness, the wheel-chair-bound Karunanidhi is in no shape to campaign.

Operative excerpts from an earlier blog in these columns:

Soon after Jaya’s admission to the hospital 75 days ago, rumours had been attributed to one Tamilachchi from France saying Jaya was dead. It had reportedly led to 42 legislators establishing contact with Karunanidhi and offered ‘support’ in the likelihood of ‘extreme circumstances.’

It seemed like an attractive proposition for the DMK to topple her, but, that plan would have backfired badly if Jaya came back healthy.

Sure enough, acting Governor Vidyasagar Rao declared Jaya to be healthy.

Karunanidhi is wielding power without being in power and thus retaining the stranglehold over the warring sections of the family that holds the DMK in thrall.

What is more, Karunanidhi has succeeded in achieving what he failed to achieve in 1984 – by masterminding a rule by remote control.

Operative excerpts from an earlier blog:

October 1984 was a tumultuous month for Tamil Nadu. MGR got off his light-green car with the number 4777 under the portico of Apollo Hospitals, walked to the reception panting for breath and got admitted.

The relentless vigil began at the hospital which later announced the thespian CM had blood clot in the brain that had induced a paralytic stroke.

On November 4 1984, MGR finally was flown by a flying hospital – all the way to New York to Downstate Medical Centre – Brooklyn, from Madras.

A miracle happened in 20 days.

Despite the tennis ball sized clot, MGR shook off his paralytic stroke, sat up, began taking lessons to regain his original gait. A special video was shot to reassure the electorate in Tamil Nadu and shown in cinemas. For the second time in his life, MGR won an election from a hospital bed.

Karunanidhi had purchased the loyalty of most of MGR’s men in the cabinet by promising juicy returns. Such beneficiaries included ministers like C. Ponnaiyan [now out of political reckoning], KA Krishnaswamy [since deceased] and Muthuswamy [who joined the DMK to be made the member of the party’s high power executive committee in 2010].

MGR’s cabinet mainstays like Nedunchezhiyan and Veerappan were roped into the act along with police officials like BP Rangaswamy, IK Govind and Dorai to name just three and the then Chief Secretary Chokkalingam.

The juicy returns began with the so-called ‘telex’ orders from the United States of America where MGR was undergoing treatment.

The telex orders benefited all the cabinet ministers who went on signing files in the name of telex orders from US of A.

The plan was to create a car with a glass dome to make MGR a figurehead and parade him before the public and run the government by proxy through his cabinet being controlled from Gopalapuram.

MGR’s closest confidante – top cop K Mohandas was side-lined into an innocuous position.

Sadly for Karunanidhi, the plan backfired as MGR learnt of the perfidy, got Mohandas back as the first thing since he returned from the US of A in early 1985.

The Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is in the same position as the DMK with one vital difference – it has no legislators in the assembly.

Informed AIADMK sources and those within the Union Finance Ministry indicate that details of Sekar Reddy’s ill-gotten stash was passed on by persons close to Sasikala to bureaucrats owing allegiance to Arun Jaitley.

It sent a chilling signal to all those entertaining hopes of jockeying themselves into positions of advantage within the AIADMK.

The move is said to have been Okayed by Karunanidhi.

AIADMK’s most visible face in Delhi – Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Thambidurai – also has endorsed the might of AIADMK’s new ‘step mother leader’ Sasikala.

It is too early for PM Narendra Modi to interfere directly into Tamil Nadu as the state unit is beset with factions whose feuds are only comparable to various state units of the Congress.

Besides, BJP is yet to make its presence felt in the hinterland of Tamil Nadu.

Worse, it had played second fiddle to Vijaykant during the 2014 parliamentary elections and shot itself in the forehead.

The career of washed up thespian Vijaykant, the earlier Leader of Opposition and current ‘political nobody’ heading the DMDK has lesser value than a burnt out matchstick. The actor is now dubbed Vijay-can’t.

One of the parties in TN worth some mention – is the PMK [once part of central coalitions under the NDA and UPA] contested alone in the 2016 assembly polls and saw its candidates lose their deposits in 212 constituencies. The rest, comprising the left [CPI and CPI-M], actor Sarat Kumar’s AISMK, the various Dalit outfits and the factions of the Muslim Leagues can be dismissed with the term ‘flotsam and jetsam’.

The situation has led to the likes of actress Gautami Tadimalla and Jaya’s niece Deepa flinging their nonexistent hats into the political ring either by writing to the PM on the non-issue of Jaya’s last days in Apollo and/or raising Cain about the inevitable ‘election’ of Sasikala as the GS of the AIADMK. The chances of their making a mark in the state’s political gambling club are, to say the least, very, very remote.

The nothingness in the political horizon of Tamil Nadu, therefore, is clearly visible.

It is then left those who have a score to settle with Jaya – albeit posthumously.

BJP’s known political face is that of Dr Swamy. But, the chances of his winning a single seat on his own from Tamil Nadu are remote.

The Congress has its own versions of Swamy – in the form of father-son duo – former ‘recount UPA central minister’ Palaniappan Chidambaram and Karti respectively. Both are non-starters.

Holy-man Jayendra Saraswati – whose name got besmirched after the notorious Shankararaman murder case nurses a serious grievance. His ally is Dr Swamy. But, both have little say in the political affairs of TN.

Finally, there is ‘superstar’ on the wane – Rajnikant whose last release Kabali proved to be a cabal. He recently visited Karunanidhi apparently to enquire about the ailing patriarch’s health. His utterances concerning his 1996 campaign that led to the defeat of Jaya are being watched with interest in many political circles.

The late MGR, Jayalalithaa and NTR were 3 southern ex-film stars who opted for political careers when movies featuring them failed at the box office.

Vijaykant attempted the same game and lost his name and political mane.

Will Rajnikant finally decide to take the plunge?

If one goes by the number of other controversies surrounding the star – especially vast sums owed by members of his family – the going may not be smooth. But, one can never say anything with finality in such matters. The actor is said to be close to PM Modi as well.

Or will someone else emerge from what could turn out to be the political ashes of Tamil Nadu?

Author: haritsv

42 years' unblemished record of being an investigative journalist. Print quality journalist in 3 languages - English, Tamil, Hindi. Widely travelled, worldwide. Cantankerous and completely honest.

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