- OPS: “Amma wanted me to be the chief minister”
- Sasikala: "I hope all of you who loved Amma will be with me.”
It all began after a harried O Panneerselvam rushed to Jayalalithaa’s Marina Beach memorial on the night of February 7, 2017 complaining of the injustice being meted out to him.
The Panneerselvam that returned however was a changed man. His inspiration? Amma. For he said, “Amma wanted me to be the chief minister.” In a very emotional display he told the media gathered there, he had some revelations to make and some truth to unveil. Again, with blessings from Amma. Remarking on his resignation he said, “I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Amma. Worked with utmost dedication to fulfill Amma’s dreams. When she was in the hospital I asked her, she asked me to take over as CM. I never wanted to be CM, they made me CM, then why insult me?”
He now plans to withdraw his resignation which he tendered to Governor Vidyasagar Rao and said he was looking for a chance to take a trust vote in the legislature. Why? Because this, is what Amma intended. He would lead the party as Amma had decreed in her agenda.
For Sasikala who was thinking that OPS would let go without a fight. It came as a surprise. She was quick to denounce him as a traitor to the party and to J Jayalalithaa, the former leader of the party. She said: "...the incidents that unfolded after Jaya's death, the episodes in the assembly, I had observed it keenly. His (OPS) interactions with the DMK, which has always been steadfast on destroying our Amma and the party, meant that the sacrifice and struggles of Amma and her supporters lost its meaning."
The war of words and claims between the two have led to a power struggle in Tamil Nadu. Now OPS wants his CM chair back and Sasikala does not want to give it. So, Panneerselvam suggested that they fight it out in the Assembly Floor by proving who enjoys the maximum majority.
In a show of strength, Sasikala has paraded 130 of AIADMK's 134 legislators in front of the Chennai party office and has now shipped them off to an undisclosed location to prevent poaching. In order to rally her men, Sasikala too played the ‘Amma confidence card’, after all she was best friends with Jayalalithaa. She said all she was doing to become CM of Tamil Nadu was because she wanted to deliver on the promises made by Amma and in a call to arms she asked, "I hope all of you who loved Amma will be with me." She repeatedly reminded her gathered party about how her situation is similar to Jayalalithaa and like how she (Jaya) battled problems, Sasikala will too, keeping the party always united and that no force (Panneerselvam) could separate them.
In the AIADMK camp, there are some who are not happy with Sasikala’s recent political promotion and ambition. One among them is veteran leader senior AIADMK leader PH Pandian who has alleged that that Ms Jayalalithaa had not died a natural death and that she had confided that she was scared of being poisoned. How much truth there is to this statement is yet to be established. He also was the first to raise the horn of dissent saying Sasikala did not enjoy the party’s support.
In all this melee it is the people who are suffering the most. A report in TOI states how emotions are running high in Tamil Nadu, concerned by the political standoff. People were seen gathering at Amma’s memorial bringing her up-to-date with what was happening in the state and lamenting the fact that she had left them orphaned and that her two aides were tarnishing her legacy. "Tell us what to do? Who should we support?" "It is over. The state is doomed.” This was the common refrain.
So will Amma answer her children’s questions, from beyond the grave? Who will now change the face of Tamil Nadu? Who will lead her flock? Till then there is no rest for Amma.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:00 PM