- When Panneerselvam takes over he will have a lot of files to look into, left untouched by Jayalalithaa
- There is no more Jayalalithaa to rein them in and the bureaucrats can have a say in decision-making
There has been talk of a political vacuum being created in Tamil Nadu after the death of Jayalalithaa, the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, who died on December 5 after suffering from a cardiac arrest.
Now, her governance and party members are in limbo as to what to do. The power centre has shifted to O Panneerselvam, the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu but still the focus is on Jayalalithaa’s closest aide Sasikala. However, now when Panneerselvam takes over he will have a lot of files to look into and will probably be spending his time signing his name at the bottom of the numerous files Amma has left behind. He was recently pictured going to Poes Garden to consult with Sasikala few days after Jayalalithaa’s death. Now it is left to be seen whether Sasikala will be the new power behind Panneerselvam or will the new CM break away from the tradition of isolation and chart a better future for the state.
Jayalalithaa, had held a tight rein over the government and the bureaucracy when her party was in power. It has been said that she was inaccessible to many, including senior bureaucrats and her own party colleagues. Especially when her health began failing, officers had to go to her residence, send files in, wait to be buzzed in or await the files. It could be hours, it could be days. In most cases, she would not meet at all: The file would come back with notings. Many of the files were related to important projects that could have helped the state progress but thanks her control over governance, a lot of work is now left to be done.
In a report in the Business Standard it mentions how the work-from-home chief minister functioned. It says a series of modified sheds outside her house would serve as waiting rooms for bureaucrats who wanted files cleared. These files would be taken in domestics, mostly from Sasikala’s hometown. It is suspected that Sasikala had a huge role to play in granting permissions since much has been talked about the Jayalalithaa Sasikala relationship. It was pretty much ‘rule by the buzzer’.
While already political leaders and national parties who had been kept at bay by Jayalalithaa’s stern policies are finding inroads into the state. Similarly when it comes to governance and matters of bureaucracy, there is vacuum and momentary chaos as many files and projects had been pending for approval at Jayalalithaa’s end.
Now, officials in the new set in administration and governance say that it will be a challenge for them as the tides have turned. There is no more Jayalalithaa to run a tight ship and bureaucrats can once again come out and play and are expecting a far greater role in decision-making. As CM, Jayalalithaa made the decisions, and expected officials to support and implement them. The development of the state was being hampered by this careless attitude with which Amma operated. While there is no denying the fact that Jayalalithaa has also introduced many schemes for the betterment of the state, there were many projects which never saw the light of day because of the way she functioned. With Panneerselvam at the helm they expect the decisions to be made quicker and probably a better future for the Tamil Nadu.
Clearly Panneerselvam has a lot on his plate. Among the big decisions that the new government has to take is on the implementation of a tax structure for the GST. Also they will have to plan a road ahead for demonetisation, because in the last one month the focus on Jayalalithaa’s health.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:37 PM IST