By Yash Shukla
The upheaval in the politics of Tamil Nadu does not seem likely to abate in the near future. Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran have been ousted from the party by the newly merged factions of Chief Minister Palaniswami and the leader of the rival faction O. Paneerselvam(OPS). The factors which led to them being displaced, repercussions of this decision for the party and for the people of the state are being analysed by the political pundits.
Failure to nurture leaders
It is often the case that political leaders in India, who enjoy popularity among the masses, do not mentor any young entrants who could endanger their public presence. J Jayalalitha is a quintessential example of this phenomenon. Despite ruling Tamil Nadu six times, she deliberately stemmed the growth of young leaders in her party by constantly shuffling their positions of responsibility. This effectively deprived them of any stability or growth. This strategy has also been used by the Congress which never built the second generation of leaders like YSR Reddy for fear of weakening the Gandhi legacy. Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee also seem to be tracing the same path. The demise of the leader in such a position creates tremendous chaos in the administration.
Sasikala: The unconstitutional authority
After the demise of Jayalalitha, Sasikala was expected to take up the reins. She was the extra-constitutional authority in the state who had a say in the activities of the party and the government. There was also conjecture that Sasikala also had the backing of New Delhi. Deciphering the act of Modi consoling Sasikala at Jayalalitha’s cremation, analysts say that it was clearly visible the BJP did not have any problem with the arrangement of power between OPS and Sasikala. However, Sasikala’s haste to obtain complete control over the state robbed her of her party as well. She failed to take into account people’s suspicion over her involvement in Jayalalitha’s suspension and even in her death. Amidst this tactical strategising, Paneerselvam’s hard work and, in particular, his systematic handling of the cyclone that hit Chennai earned him admiration from the public. He also had more legitimacy in the eyes of public because Jayalalitha had relied on him twice earlier by handing him the reins when she went to jail following her disqualification. Sasikala was unable to handle the aftermath of Jayalalitha’s death in an apt manner, displaying her desperate ambitions and political immaturity.
Her conviction by the court was the final nail in the coffin which forced her to hand over the control of the party to her nephew Dinakaran. However, he was also seen as an undeserving candidate owing to his dismissal from the party at the hands of Jayalalitha ten years earlier.
What is the way forward?
After having secured the ouster of Sasikala and her nephew from the party, the road ahead for the Palaniswami government appears thorny. Dinakaran has vowed to fight back by withdrawing the support of at least 25 MLAs. However, the political manoeuvres are far from over. According to sources, Palaniswami and OPS are still hopeful owing to the support received from the Modi government. Palaniswami is reported to be hopeful that most of the MLAs of Dinakaran camp will return and support the government.
Meanwhile, the party has decided to make late Jayalalitha their permanent general secretary by saying that no other leader has the charisma to claim that that post. Jayalalitha perhaps has been successful in eliminating all other leaders of the party even after death, as is evident from the current chaotic scenario.
Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt
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