Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami's statement that Jayalalithaa had not nominated anybody her heir and that is why she did not identify any individual as her successor has raked up an argument. Doesn't Tamil Nadu really have an heir?
Heaping praise on Jayalalithaa at the birth centenary celebrations of AIADMK founder and late Chief Minister MG Ramachandran here, Palaniswami said Jayalalithaa had shown no mercy to anyone who had acted against the party.
Days after Jayalalithaa's death the secret heirs announced in front of the press that they were the real heirs to Jayalalithaa's legacy.
From Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's 42-year-old niece Deepa Jayakumar, nephew Deepak to Palaniswami and Pannerselvam all declared that they were the heirs to the power chair following Jayalalithaa's death.
Sasikala who was known as Jayalalithaa's domestic helper and assistant suddenly rose to the position of AIADMK party chief amidst opposition from the members.
Panneerselvam was the first one to oppose and revolt against Sasikala and her Mannargudi group, whom Jayalalithaa too despised. In fact, Jayalalithaa had banned the Mannargudi mafia from getting involved in her personal as well as political matters.
But sadly on the day, Jayal's funeral was conducted her body was surrounded by Sasikala and her Mannargudi family!
Then the next step was to claim rights over the post of Jayalalithaa's political successor. As Sasikala was the only person present during Jayalalithaa's 70-day illness inside the hospital, she had an emotional appeal and tried to encash on people's sadness and her tears.
But secrecy maintained over Jayalalithaa's death, her resort politics and conviction in the disproportionate assets case marred her dreams. Even from the Parappana Agrahara prison, she is still keeping the dream of her sitting on the CM's chair alive through Dinakaran!
After people expressed their disappointment over Sasikala, Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa's niece convened a press conference and said that Sasikala did not allow her to meet Jayalalithaa but claimed that she had met Jaya who loved her a lot. She even started dressing up like Jayalalithaa. As she could win the hearts of AIADMK members and become it's chief, she floated a new party ‘MGR Amma Deepa Peravai’. But soon K Madhavan, Deepa's husband left the party and announced that he will launch another party. But Deepa's party did not have any effect on the people or Tamil Nadu politics.
Then came Deepak, Deepa's brother and Jayalalithaa's nephew. He sided with Sasikala and was seen during Jaya's funeral. Even Sasikala-Dinakaran encouraged him. But he too failed to leave any mark on Tamil Nadu politics.
Then came Edappadi Palaniswami, who was asked to lead the party and made the Chief Minister by Sasikala is still the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. He was the one keeping the MLAs together in the resort arranged by Sasikala-Dinakaran. However, currently Palaniswamy is also giving into popular sentiment and has promised to probe Jayalalithaa's death.
But he is still not Jayalalithaa's heir and has opposition from within the party.
Palaniswamy assumed the office on 16 February 2017 had previously served as Minister for Highways and Minor Ports in the Jayalalithaa- and O Panneerselvam Cabinet.
The only person whom Jayalalithaa herself entrusted with the temporary post of Chief Minister is O Panneerselvam. But twice it was just a temporary arrangement when Jayalalithaa had to step down as she faced a jail term in the disproportionate assets case. Thus, he too cannot be termed as Jayalalithaa's legal heir.
Thus as Palaniswamy said, Jayalalithaa had not nominated anybody her heir, and that is why she did not identify any individual as her successor. She proved even a party worker from the lowest ranks could become the chief minister, he said. Anyone with “truth, hard work and personality” can attain heights like that of Jayalalithaa.
Now, who will win the successor's war? Will anyone continue Jayalalithaa's legacy or start a new legacy in Tamil Nadu?