The Enthronement of Sasikala as CM Will Be a Huge Slap to Democracy in TN
After the mysterious death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, preparations are underway for Sasikala Natarajan (VK Sasikala) to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Leaders of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) are vouching for Sasikala to take the place of Jayalalithaa, which in other words, mean that they want her to become Chief Minister.
But as long as Jayalalithaa was alive, she refrained from including Sasikala Natarajan in her political party. Although they lived together under the same roof, Jayalalithaa did not want Sasikala to take up any major position in the AIADMK.
The Question of Sasikala’s Succession
According to the Indian Constitution, the leader of the single majority party becomes the Chief Minister of the state upon the appointment of the governor. On the other hand, the leader of a coalition will become CM, in case of the absence of a thumping majority.
While the AIADMK won the majority of votes in Tamil Nadu, its supreme leader Jayalalithaa was appointed as the Chief Minister. That was what the people of Tamil Nadu expected, at least the majority of them.
But after the death of Jayalalithaa, there was a question of who would succeed her. As usual, the Finance Minister of state O. Paneerselvam was chosen to be the Chief Minister temporarily. But most of the party members of the AIADMK and even most of the common people in Tamil Nadu were sure that O.P.S. would never be the CM permanently in the long run.
Meanwhile, some of the AIADMK party leaders started vouching publicly for Sasikala Natarajan to take the place of Jayalalithaa. They called her ‘Chinamma’ and said that she was the rightful substitute to the deceased ‘Amma’.
The other party leaders were divided on this and they said that Sasikala is not the right successor to Jayalalithaa. Some of them also vouched for Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa to take up Jayalalithaa’s position. However, with time, even some of these leaders who initially did not support Sasikala jumped on the bandwagon and began to support her for the role.
VK Sasikala took up the post of General Secretary of the AIADMK on the 29thof December 2016. AIADMK tweeted that it accepted ‘Chinamma’ as its party chief, which made Panneer Selvam obsolete. As clear as it remains now, Paneer Selvam is the dummy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Why Has a Proper Successor Not Been Elected?
About 14 resolutions were released when VK Sasikala took up the post as General Secretary. The 5th resolution revealed that Sasikala was appointed temporarily as the General Secretary till one was elected.
This clearly reveals that the party resorted to flipping a wild card when it came to selecting Sasikala as the party chief. There should be a reason behind that, because Sasikala is literally commanding the entire party at the moment. There should also be a reason for senior party members falling at her feet as they did for former CM Jayalalithaa. The best reason as of now would be that they do not want to lose their position in the party and become paupers.
The party never took a poll or consulted the governor on choosing a successor for Jayalalithaa. The hurried late-night swearing in of Paneer Selvam as Chief Minister was temporary, but the AIADMK only invokes a permanent disaster by choosing an inexperienced person who has no idea about the what’s and how’s of politics to lead the party.
This also justifies why Sasikala’s “enthronement” to CM is a huge slap to democracy in Tamil Nadu. In fact, an infinitesimal part of the TN population only wants VK Sasikala to fill the void left by the late Jayalalithaa. What is the use of democracy when the common man is forced to accept a leader he does not have any hopes on?
Originally published at www.kemmyjose.com on January 11, 2017.