Southern state of Tamil Nadu is currently going through a major political crisis. Contradicting claimants are fighting tooth and nail for the prestigious chair of Chief Minister, albeit shredding its honor through dubious means. Not to forget the fact that both the rallying CM candidates belong to same political outfit, AIADMK. A division seems evident and the loser faces danger of getting lost into oblivion.
Indeed what triggered this easily avoidable fiasco is a big miscalculation on the part of deceased former CM Jayalalitha’s long time confidante, Sasikala. Also called as ‘Chinamma’ because of her proximity to ‘Amma’, she tried to use her image to seek complete power in this personality worshiping state.
However she overestimated her charisma and is on her way to become a glaring example of ‘what not to do in politics.
Soon after the death of Jayalalitha, O Panneerselvam emerged as the obvious choice for the CM post as he had previously enjoyed former CM’s blessings in her lifetime as well. Indeed many feared for him to be remote controlled by ‘Mannargudi Mafia’, a term used to refer to Sasikala’s clout in not very honorific way.
Indeed back door power play wasn’t Sasikala’s calling. She didn’t exactly preferred Sonia Gandhi’s method of rule and instead tried to do a Nitish on her own party’s Jiten Ram Manjhi. But what she immensely lacked was Sonia Gandhi’s iron fist and Nitish Kumar’s political experience.
O Panneerselvam on the other hand is a hardened full-time politician. He called Sasikala ’s bluff at the right time and forced her to come out of her demeanor and lose all sympathy, which might have come her way in some other circumstance.
During her short restrain from clutches of power, if Sasikala had studied even a bit about what transpired in Bihar when Nitish tried to overthrow Jitan Ram Manjhi, better sense could have prevailed.
When even a Jitan Ram Majhi could make seasoned politician like Nitish Kumar dance to his tunes under similar circumstance, Sasikala merely had a chance.
Sasikala tried to use O Panneerselvam as night watchmen but not every politician can be as thick skinned as Manmohan Singh. Some obviously have the will-power and courage to be a leader in true sense.
Dressing like Jayalalitha, sitting on the front seat or waving like her doesn’t seem to be helping Sasikala much. In desperate attempt to portray herself as former CM’s protégée she has in fact turned herself into a cheap fake. Her political inexperience isn’t very reassuring to AIADMK MLA’s who are trying to figure their way out in this messy fight of superiority.
Chinamma could have avoided this whole logjam only if she had exhibited little more patience. The fact that she couldn’t restrain her hunger for the top post in the state for even two months of Jayalalitha’s departure also raises question over her devotion for the former leader.
From theatrics at Marina beach to claimed lockdown of MLA’s in a city resort, political turmoil in Tamil Nadu is going through a very rough patch. Not to mention that every such incident also shakes people’s trust in democracy.
Not many seem to be supportive of being ruled by someone who’s only qualification for the post happens to be managing their former leader’s household. People’s support is more visibly inclined behind Jayalalitha’s heir whom she had chosen while being debarred from the CM post. And as O Panneerselvam has refused to be used as a doormat, Sasikala’s options are shrinking with every passing moment.