Tamil Nadu : Clamour for Sasikala
The clamour for Sasikala, not just as the party chief but also as Chief Minister, gains a new momentum
TS Venkatesan, Chennai
With a section of ministers and AIADMK leaders coming out openly in support of Chinnamma, the ‘Sasikala for CM’ campaign is now gaining a new momentum that sends shivers to present occupant O Panneerselvam. While in the past Panneerselvam had held the top job thrice as an “interim arrangement”, this time he appears to be set for a longer innings in the Government.
The Poes Garden, the residence of late Jayalalithaa, came to life after 75 days. Within 24 hours of Jayalalithaa’s burial on the sands of Marina beach, top functionaries made a beeline to request Chinnamma to take over the party affairs as general secretary. Mainly leaders, who were sidelined during Jayalalithaa’s regime or sacked due to corruption charges are the faces that are behind this campaign.
The HC says ‘No’ to ‘sharia courts’ across the state
Amidst loud protests from a section of society in some pockets of Bharat over the Uniform Civil Code in the country, the Madras High Court ordered the authorities to wind up the illegal ‘sharia courts’ functioning in mosques across Tamil Nadu, within a month. ‘No Kangaroo courts in religious places,’ ruled the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar. Sharia courts in mosques are functioning like a court sans legal sanctity, it said.
Before OPS could settle down in his official role, his own Cabinet colleague–Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar, who also heads the Jayalalithaa Peravai, and the AIADMK Theni District secretary-cum-legislator Thangatamilselvan–have openly appealed to Sasikala to assume charge as CM in addition to the party’s ‘general secretaryship’. Since the death of Jayalalithaa, a well-orchestrated campaign has been launched in support of Sasikala. Posters have sprung up in various parts of the State calling upon Sasikala to follow in the footsteps of Jayalalithaa. A former AIADMK MLA, however, said the development is unfortunate. “Panneerselvam was the natural choice of Jayalalithaa not once, but three times. Even when she was
hospitalised, Jayalalithaa assigned her portfolios to him. We do not know who is behind all these orchestrated
campaigns,” he added.
Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar, Rural Development Minister P Benjamin, AIADMK spokesperson and former actor CR Saraswathi and O Pannerselvam’s bete noire Thanga Tamil Selvan are unanimous in their view that Sasikala should contest by-elections from RK Nagar, which Jayalalithaa represented, and take over as CM. Saraswathi recalled that from the time the party was founded by MGR, both the posts — General Secretary and is CM — were held by one and the same person.
Sasikalaa has accepted resolutions from party men and giving audience to party functionaries, media barons, but has not spelt out her decision. Forthcoming general council meeting of AIADMK is expected to decide its future leader.Besides an NGO, the dissident Sasikala Pushpa, Rajya Sabha MP filed a petition in SC seeking a CBI probe into the mysterious death of Jayalalithaa. Jayalalithaa’s family friend one Geetha has also moved the court with the same prayer. Meanwhile, support for Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa from all over the state has been picking up. Efforts are to unite both Sasikala Pushpa and Deepa to checkmate Chinnamma loyalists move in the back room battle for power.