For over three decades, Sasikala lived in the shadows of the late Jayalalithaa. As she now looks to step out and gain control over the AIADMK, her family, once loathed by Jayalalithaa and viewed with suspicion by others in the party, could prove the biggest hurdle. Chinnamma: Will Sasikala’s family be AIADMK’s biggest hurdle? Part-1.

Sasikala

Opinion
11/12/2016.
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Sub : Chinnamma: Will Sasikala’s family be AIADMK’s biggest hurdle?

Ref : For over three decades, Sasikala lived in the shadows of the late Jayalalithaa. As she now looks to step out and gain control over the AIADMK, her family, once loathed by Jayalalithaa and viewed with suspicion by others in the party, could prove the biggest hurdle.

Media Report- The Inidan Express
Written by Nirupama Subramanian , Arun Janardhanan


(Illustration by Manali Ghosh)
Part-1.
1.

At Rajaji Hall on Tuesday evening, as Sasikala stood beside Jayalalithaa’s casket, with other members of her extended clan at vantage positions around the body, there were few AIADMK seniors in the frame. Elsewhere, Sasikala’s husband Natarajan, whom Jayalalithaa apparently loathed, escorted out VIPs. The message, amplified when Sasikala performed the last rites for her friend, was this: that Chinnamma, as Sasikala V K is often referred to, aide and confidante to Jayalalithaa for over three decades, was all set to take over the party. And that she wouldn’t be alone — with her would return Natarajan and other family members.


2.

But there is no certainty that Sasikala, whose friendship with Jayalalithaa began in the early ’80s and who was a constant presence outside the glass cabin of Apollo Hospital’s ICU, where Jayalalithaa lay for 73 days, has been accepted as the new power centre by all in the party.

In this file photo, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is seen holding the budget briefcase with a picture of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa as he poses for a picture next to her at the Tamil Nadu assembly. PTI Photo/DIPR
3.

At stake now is the post of general secretary of the AIADMK, the party’s most powerful, which Jayalalithaa held from the time she took over the reunified AIADMK in 1990 until her death last week. Sasikala has to become general secretary in order to become party supremo. But whether she can exercise the kind of control Jayalalithaa had over the AIADMK, a party that claims to have 1.5 crore members, is now a big question mark.

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  To be continued....
Little is known about Sasikala’s early life except that she is from Mannargudi in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvarur district and is from the Thevar community, a powerful backward caste. Express photo/Nirmal Harindran
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