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Posted at: Apr 20, 2017, 12:12 AM; last updated: Apr 20, 2017, 12:12 AM (IST)

Independence Day in TN

AIADMK sends malevolent Sasikala packing
WEDNESDAY has turned out to be a good day for the Indian democracy. In Delhi the Supreme Court demonstrated that the rigour and requirements of the rule of law were not necessarily hostage to the political momentum of the day; and, in distant Chennai the two factions of the ruling AIADMK demonstrated exemplary maturity in reclaiming the party from Sasikala and her family. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanswami and his faction took the extraordinarily courageous decision to dump jailed Sasikala, who had manoeuvred her way as the general secretary of the party after Jayalalithaa’s death last December. 

Before she got packed off to a jail, Sasikala had installed her nephew, TTV Dinakaran, as the (acting) party boss. Sasikala had succeeded in her power grab purely on the strength of being the chambermaid in Jayalalithaa’s household. That the majority of the AIADMK MLAs and the party functionaries should have servilely allowed themselves to be frog-marched in the service of Sasikala, all in the name of Jayalalithaa and her mantle, was definitely a disgraceful moment for the Indian party system. Only former Chief Minister O Paneerselvam (OPS) and his minor faction defied this hijacking of the party by Sasikala and her band of conspirators. 

Sasikala’s proxy-rule in Tamil Nadu was unnatural and untenable. Now the AIADMK leaders have declared their independence; they have been prompted by the Election Commission’s decision to freeze the party’s two-leaf symbol; and, they were definitely emboldened to revolt once the Delhi Police issued a lookout notice against Dinakaran. It must not come easily for the party leaders to face the prosaic fact that neither Sasikala nor her nephew has any leadership qualities; undoubtedly she was privy to many intrigues and machinations within the Amma court but she had absolutely no public record of any kind of knowledge, even familiarity, with political issues and the legislative landscape. She is no Jayalalithaa. It remains to be seen how the two AIADMK factions finally arrive at an honorable compromise but that the party functionaries could even think of purging themselves of the ‘founding family’ will have ramifications beyond Tamil Nadu.

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