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AIADMK merger: End of the road for Sasikala? 7 reasons OPS camp wants her out

One condition laid down by the Panneerselvam camp for the merger of the AIADMK factions was that VK Sasikala be dismissed from the party.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 18:47 IST
AIADMK merger,M. K. Stalin‬,‪Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam‬
File photo of VK Sasikala at Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina beach in Chennai.(PTI Photo)

Two factions of the AIADMK -- one led by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami and the other headed by O Panneerselvam – announced on Monday they were merging, signalling a potential fatal blow to VK Sasikala’s political career.

One of the basic conditions laid down by the Panneerselvam camp for the merger was that the AIADMK should dismiss Sasikala and her family members from the party.

The Panneerselvam camp has maintained Sasikala is unpopular among the people of Tamil Nadu.

Here are a few reasons they give:

1) There was anger recently over the illegal confinement of MLAs at a resort amid the presence of private security guards, suspected to be toughies from the Mannargudi region Sasikala hails from. Rivals derisively refer to her family as “Mannargudi mafia” for the alleged corrupt dealings of her family, which enjoyed immense clout in early days of J Jayalalithaa’s rule.

2) They alleged that ‘Chinamma’ Sasikala was somehow connected to Jayalalithaa’s illness and her death. She was also seen by them as a ruthlessly corrupt person responsible for allegedly sullying Jayalalithaa’s image.

3) They raised a stink over Sasikala’s decision to continue living in Veda Nilayam, Jayalalithaa’s bungalow in Chennai’s upmarket Poes Garden till her arrest. Veda Nilayam is not a government property. The house was bought by Jayalalithaa when she was a leading actor of the Tamil film industry.

4) She has always been accused of trying to control access to Jayalalithaa. Several AIADMK leaders, including Panneerselvam, said they were not allowed to visit Jayalalithaa during her 75-day stay at the local Apollo hospitals.

5) Sasikala’s makeover – wearing her sari and hair like Jayalithaa and copying her mannerism – infuriated the supporters of the late chief minister.

6) Re-emergence of Sasikala’s relatives, who were all banished by Jayalalithaa, raised eyebrows. It was Sasikala’s family that crowded the stage when the former chief minister’s body lay in state.Sasikala and many others have corruption cases pending against them.

7) She was seen as a traitor for going back on a promise she made to Jayalalithaa: After she was thrown out of Poes Garden in 2011, Sasikala gave an undertaking that she would never aspire for a political or party position. She was taken back a few months later after she promised to distance herself from family and promised to stop interfering in the affairs of the government.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 16:58 IST