Tamil Nadu watches "Political Sallikattu" between Sasikala and OPS factions

| Updated: Feb 14, 2017 22:11 IST

By Onkareshwar Pandey New Delhi [India], Feb. 14 (ANI): One Sasikala is out, another Sasikala is in. This Sasikala supports OPS, the caretaker Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The adverse verdict against V.K. Sasikala has given new hope for L. Sasikala Pushpa to come to the frontline of Tamil Nadu politics. Sasikala Pushpa, a rebel AIADMK member and Rajya Sabha MP, has been in the news for opposing the appointment of V.K. Sasikala to the post that late party supremo J. Jayalalithaa once held. She has been a close aide of Panneerselvam. With the Supreme Court verdict coming as a setback for V.K. Sasikala in her ambition for the coveted post of the Chief Minister, Sasikala Pushpa has enough reasons to be on cloud nine. Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK by the late chief minister after she allegedly slapped Trichy Siva, a Member of Parliament from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 1, 2016. Sasikala Pushpa who was the one who first cried foul when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam passed a unanimous resolution to work under the leadership of Jayalalithaa's friend and confidante V.K. Sasikala. Post Jayalalithaa's death, Sasikala Pushpa had moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe or a judicial investigation by an apex court judge into the same. She alleged that Jayalalithaa's death was "suspicious" as her actual medical condition was not disclosed, adding no one was allowed to visit her, and her funeral photographs showed embalming marks and everything from her hospitalisation to her death "was kept under wraps". Sasikala Pushpa's lawyers were attacked by the party workers and her husband was arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police a day after the ruckus outside the AIADMK's office in Chennai just before the party was all set to announce the successor of Jayalalithaa, who breathed her last on December 5, 2016. Party spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi had then said, "Pushpa is no more with the AIADMK and has no right to be present in any meetings." After Jayalalithaa's death, Panneerselvam was once again promoted as the Chief Minister, the post he had filled in twice for her when she had to take leaves of absence from office because of charges of venality. In the weeks that followed, the state's ruling AIADMK appeared to be running smoothly. Gears began grinding two week ago when Panneerselvam said that he would not allow V.K. Sasikala to replace him as the Chief Minister as decided by the party. The Supreme Court's judgment on Tuesday convicting V.K. Sasikala in a disproportionate assets case has added suspense to the ongoing chaos for the Chief Minister's chair. At one hand, it will scuttle V.K. Sasikala's chances of becoming the Chief Minister as the Constitution mandates election to the assembly within six months of assuming office and on the other hand it will give a new chance to Sasikala Pushpa for re-entering the AIADMK from which she was expelled. Sasikala Pushpa might be taken back into the party only if Panneerselvam proves majority in the house and becomes the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu yet again in the coming days. For Sasikala Pushpa, a ray of hope has also arisen because V.K. Sasikala will not be able to contest the elections for 10 years or hold public office. A former Mayor of Tuticorin city, Sasikala Pushpa, comes from Mudalur near Sathankulam in Tamil Nadu. She was elected to the Rajya Sabha on April 3, 2014. A couple of days after her expulsion from the AIADMK, she alleged in the Parliament that some forces within the party were threatening her and that she was being forced to resign. The political tussle between V.K. Sasikala's camp and OPS loyalists has not yet stopped as immediately after the verdict, the former faction elected the serving PWD Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy as the new Legislature Party Leader. He was elected by the MLAs owing allegiance to V.K. Sasikala in a meeting held at the Kuvathur resort near Chennai. V.K. Sasikala, who was also present in the meeting, endorsed Palaniswamy as the new legislature party leader and also removed Panneerselvam from the party's primary membership. The attempts of V.K. Sasikala's camp to take over the reins of the state from Panneerselvam is not just being seen as a simple plot to grab the power, as many feel that this may also lead to turn the course of state politics. The energetic youth, who shook the entire nation for eight days from January 17 to 23, protesting a Supreme Court ban on the bull-taming sport of Jallikattu and settled only after getting the result in their favour is now watching the drama scripted by Sasikala Natrajan. The young age Tamil people must be frustrated to see the political turmoil and a power tussle in the AIADMK after the death of their beloved leader Jayalalithaa. Questions are now being asked as to who is going to hold the reins of the government in Tamil Nadu - Sasikala loyalists or OPS? Interestingly, both of them are hell bent to defeat each other with a simple concept and spirit of "flight or fight", a reminder of the bull taming sport Jallikattu. Clearly, the Chief Minister's chair in Tamil Nadu has become "Salli" and Sasikala and Silvam factions are fighting to get the post as "Kattu". In Jallikattu, which is also called Sallikattu, "Salli" kassu (coins) is tied to the horns of the bulls and a package or "Kattu" is given as the prize money as per Tamilian tradition. The comparison of Sasikala-OPS feud with the recent Jallikattu episode in Tamil Nadu has one thing in common and that is the people of state. While they were seen agitating and protesting with remarkable energy thereby compelling the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly to convene a special session to pass a bill on January 23 this year allowing Jallikattu, but the same people are now watching the political developments silently through their television channels. Now, since one Sasikala is opposing OPS and the other is supporting him, all eyes are on Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who has to take decision about whom to give a chance to form the next government in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP Government at the Centre cannot overlook the developments taking place in Tamil Nadu, which has a total of 37 members in the Lok Sabha and 13 members in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling BJP is not in majority. As of now, the BJP has taken a stand of "no interference" in whatever is happening in Tamil Nadu. Terming the apex court's decision as historic, BJP general secretary Murlidhar Rao said the verdict will have consequences for Tamil Nadu polity and will also have an impact on national politics. He said that the AIADMK now has to introspect and select a leader who can provide clean politics and administration. Rao said the BJP will support any constructive move in the interest of Tamil Nadu. The Congress also echoed similar sentiments on the issue with party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala firmly stating that this is the only way forward and added that the Tamil Nadu Governor must call a special assembly session and ask both factions to prove majority in the house.(ANI)
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