Sasikala Pushpa Natarajan has been a highlighted name in Tamil Nadu political sphere. When the news of late J Jayalalithaa suffering a cardiac arrest surfaced in the media, it was Sasikala who raised small voice of protest-implying that there is something ‘fishy’ in her treatment.
According to Indianexpress, speaking to ANI in New Delhi, Pushpa stated that Jaya should be placed directly under the Centre’s care as the public was largely uninformed about her health and was solely relying on the statements made by the Hospital. Asserting that the Chief Minister could be under some ‘unconstitutional authority’, Pushpa called on the Prime Minister to intervene and ‘save her’. She also thanked Prime Minister Modi for the Centre’s involvement in the matter as the government top brass was in constant coordination with the state government.
These allegations put the spotlight back on Sasikala, leading to sudden speculations on the next custodian of TN politics. Even before the late CM of the state was officially declared dead, the media smelled the rat. What was going on behind the AIDMK doors?
The manner in which the AIDMK MLA’s have elected gives us some hints into the matter. Even when the emotional public was trying to deal with this shocking development; there were Jaya’s party members pouring in the hospital. They were there to pay tributes to their leader, and also, signing a motion to appoint O Panneerselvam-at the helm of the political affairs in the given situation.
According to newsminute, even before her death was announced, and it emerged that Dhivaharan, Sasikala’s youngest brother, a person based out of Mannargudi, was meeting MLAs, seeking their support and holding them together.
Does that explain the fact why O Paneerselvam took oath as the CM on 1.30 am, just two hours after J Jayalalithaa was declared dead? Was the oath ceremony just an attempt to sabotage Sasikala’s political ambitions and save AIDMK government?
When Sasikala was staying at CM’s residence
In order to understand this better, let us dig dipper into Sasikala’s background. She was believed to be a close aid of J Jayalalithaa. Sasikala was embraced politically by the late CM-even when her (Sasikala’s) family was believed to be conspiring against the late CM. Not that everything was always smooth between the two. J Jayalalithaa had expelled her 20 years old political aid and thrown (Sasikala and her relatives) out of her (CM) residence. Yes, they were staying with J Jayalalithaa as her own family members.
According to a website Quora, in 1991, Jayalalithaa swept the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and became the CM. With the ascendance of Jayalaithaa, Sasikala became powerful too. In fact, she became more powerful than jayalalithaa, so much so that the ministers started taking orders directly from her.
Sasikala helped all her family members and her family became very rich by 1996. The stories of moneymaking through wrongful means by Sasikala’s family members spread across the state, rather the entire country and it was one of the main reasons for the defeat of Jayalalithaa’s party AIADMK in the 1996 elections.
Even though Sasikala is reported to have stood by Jayalalithaa, even during her political pitfalls, the speculations were rife that Sasikala was crafting her own success. It was in 2011, when this fact came on the surface. This was the year when Jayalalithaa came back to power, and in the same year, Sasikala’s ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ started planning her CM progression. Mannargudi Mafia was the 40 servant’s brigade which Sasikala has got from Mannargudi, to maintain CM residence (during her stay in CM residence in 1989). BJP leaders, Pramod Mahajan and Brajesh Mishra at one point were seen cultivating the ‘brigade’-making room for Sasikala’s political career.
Coming back to 2011, when Jayalalithaa was the CM, the ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ suspected CM’s prosecution in the disproportionate asset case in the Bangalore court.
As reported by Quora, in the meantime, Jayalaithaa’s good friend Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister, alerted her about the Mannargudi Mafia and told her that investors were leaving Tamil Nadu because of monetary demands from Sasikala and her family. Another tip-off that Jayalalithaa received talked about the suspected poisoning of the CM.
An alarmed Jayalalithaa, it is said, went to a doctor for her medical tests without informing Sasikala. Her tests revealed that she was being given sedatives and chemical substances that had small quantities of arsenic. As the story goes, her nurse at home had been appointed by Sasikala, and served the chief minister fruits and medicines at regular intervals.
Reportedly, the nurse was appointed by Sasikala herself. This development meant the end of their friendship, and Sasikala along with her family members was asked to vacate the house by Jayalaithaa.
Sasikala’s political reinstatement in 2012
Even though Jayalaithaa distanced herself from Sasikala’s family members, she reinstated Sasikala back into the party in 2012. This news spread like fire, and shocked Jayalaithaa supporters. Why was the powerful leader so dependent on Sasikala who allegedly tried to take her life?
And the drama unfolds in December, 2016
Now Sasikala can be seen all over the media with her family members in her toe. Her husband, her brother, once believed to be conspiring against the late CM, is blatantly sharing their sentiments in the public.
As reported by newsminute, M Natarajan, Sasikala’s husband, had been kept away from the party and the government for a long time, although he had been known to peddle some influence. Now he is back, talking about the future course of AIADMK, the party in power in Tamil Nadu. He was seen conversing with Venkiah Naidu and even PM Modi at Rajaji Hall during Jayalalithaa’s public homage. In an interview to News18 Tamil, he talks about how ‘we’ will take forward the legacy of MGR and Jayalalithaa.
M Natarajan was working as a Public Relations officer in Tamil Nadu government on temporary basis. He was working closely with the then District Collector of Cuddalore V S Chandralekha, IAS, who in turn was very close to the then Tamil Nadu CM M G Ramachandran.