Within AIADMK, growing calls to see Sasikala as CM: Reports

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016.
Photo – PTI

In what could be a tectonic development in Tamil Nadu, there are reports of chorus within the ruling party, AIADMK, to elevate its General Secretary Sasikala as Chief Minister. AIADMK MLAs are set to meet on Sunday, where the possibility of calls to ask Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister cannot be ruled out.

Post J Jayalalithaa’s demise last year December, O Panneerselvam was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, while her long-time aide VK Sasikala was coronated as the new party chief.

However, the party sources declined to confirm the reports that the MLAs would urge Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister.

“It is is all your imagination and guess work,” a senior leader is quoted to have reacted.

Ever since Jayalalithaa’s death in December, there has been a clamour that Sasikala should follow the earlier practice of both the party general secretary and the chief minister’s post should be vested in the same person. Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai had even publically backed Sasikala for the Chief Minister’s post.

File photo of Tamil Nadu CM O Paneerselvam.

File photo of Tamil Nadu CM O Paneerselvam.

Last month, Thambidurai had said that the leadership in both the party and governance should be with the same person, while urging Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister.

To drive home his point, he had cited the political tussle in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh to drive home his point that the control of government and party should vest with the same person.

Sasikala was appointed as General Secretary by AIADMK’s top decision-making body General Council on December 29. She took charge of the post on December 31, pledging to take forward the legacy of Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala, 62, had been a close aide of Jayalalithaa for three decades and was always seen as a power centre in AIADMK.

In a related development earlier last month, Jayalalithaa’s Deep Jayakumar claimed her legacy and expressed willingness to contest the polls.

With a section of AIADMK workers sporting banners and hailing her as Jaya’s political heir, Deepa Jayakumar had said that she cannot accept AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala as the party chief.

(With inputs from the PTI)