Medium Sends Message Of Rebellion To Sasikala
After meditation & ‘conversation with Jayalalithaa’s soul’, OPS rebels, says he was forced to resign
Our Political Bureau
New Delhi/Chennai: Politics made way for paranormal in Chennai late on Tuesday night. Or so it seemed when three-time stand-in chief minister O Panneerselvam claimed at a late night news conference that Jayalalithaa’s ‘soul had asked him to speak the truth’. And the truth was that he was forced to step down as CM and he did it to prevent a split in the AIADMK. Pannneerselvam, who arrived at the Jayalalithaa memorial on Marina beach late on Tuesday night to meditate in full media glare, told in his first public appearance after Sunday’s resignation that he was ready to withdraw his resignation if that is what the people of Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK cadre wanted.
The fast pace developments over the weekend that gave the impression that Sasikala was set to smoothly take over as the CM was belied following OPS’ claim.
The dice seemed to be loaded against Sasikala as her assumption of power has also been challenged in the Supreme Court. The PIL could come up for hearing on Wednesday after it is ‘cured’ of its defects. The Supreme Court is also expected to deliver its verdict in the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala and others next week. An unfavourable verdict could mean the end of Sasikala’s bid to assume the office of CM at least as of now. However, how many MLAs actually support her and if Panneerselvam has the backing of a section of the party is not known at this stage. OPS’ remarks has put a question mark on the unanimous election of Sasikala, indicating that the party which has seen multiple splits after the death of founder MGR may be headed for another one, even as its general secretary VK Sasikala was waiting for an invitation from governor C Vidyasagar Rao to take over as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The drama that climaxed with Panneerselvam’s news conference began when Jayalalithaa’s niece Dee- pa Jayakumar disapproved of Sasikala’s takeover as the CM and veteran ADMK leader PH Pandian alleged that Jayalalithaa “collapsed” after she was pushed during a fight at her residence in September, triggering her bout of illness that led to her death. Adding to the suspense, Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who holds additional charge of the state, was yet to arrive in Chennai, two days after Sasikala staked claim to become the CM.
On its part, the AIADMK said that it was the constitutional obligation of the governor to swear in Sasikala as CM even as it rubbished Pandian’s allegations. The AIADMK fielded Panruti Ramachandran and KA Sengottaiyan who at a news conference rejected Pandian's allegations and dubbed him a “betrayer” causing “confusion.” Ramachandran added “general secretary in-charge can be appointed,” and that Sasikala's elevation was in compliance with party rules and that it was valid.
“The constitutional obligation of the governor is to swear in Sasikala. There is no ground for stopping it. Nobody can stop it,” Ramachandran, who was a minister in the first MGR cabinet, said. On a PIL opposing swearing in of Sasikala as chief minister, he said the court can dismiss the petition, saying it cannot interfere in the governor's duty.
Pandian claimed that Sasikala's elevation was against party norms, saying she did not have the locus standi to either be the party chief or chief minister. “Sasikala does not deserve to be either the party supremo or the chief minister,” Pandian told reporters, two days after Sasikala was elected AIADMK legislature party leader.
Pandian claimed that within 20 days after the demise of Jayalalithaa, party leaders were “made to say” that they wanted Sasikala to be the party chief and added that it was against party rules. “Only cadres can elect the general secretary,” he said. “Violating party bylaws, one cannot become general secretary. If it was done, it is not sustainable.”
Elaborating on his allegation, Pandian said: “On the night of September 22, there was a war of words between the people of the house. It was about some happening with the other side's family (Sasikala's family) and Jayalalithaa and she was pushed down. She fell down and she became unconscious.” Ramachandran countered this by asking, “what is the proof ? Did he show any proof ?” He said only doctors were competent authorities to speak on such issues, adding, “they did not say anything like that (indicating suspicious death).”