‘Chinnamma’ Replaces ‘Amma’ as General Secretary of AIADMK…Does She Deserve???

As rumours had it, VK Sasikala Natarajan has been unanimously elected as the General Secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). ‘Chinnamma’ (mother’s younger sister) as she is fondly referred in the party cadres will take over the reigns from where J Jayalalitha had left the party. It is expected that she will take charge of the party from January 2, 2017, which was held by ‘Amma’ for the past 18 years, unopposed. This has resulted in creation of two power centre’s, one at party level headed by Ms Sasikala Natarajan and one at Government level allegedly led by CM of Tamil Nadu, Panneer O Selvam.

News were doing rounds that both VK Sasikala and Panneer O Selvam had a closed door meeting with their respective confidante’s where it was decided that Sasikala will be provided with full authority to run the party and Panneer O Selvam will take control of the government, and as per rumours, a resolution was adopted unopposed to elevate Sasikala to the top most post in the General Council meet held today in Chennai. The party has thus elected ‘Chinnamma’ as the party supremo giving her absolute powers to run the show and backing Panneer O Selvam as Chief Minister, who wishes to complete his term as Chief Minister.

It is interesting to note that, even though VK Sasikala was a close confidante of J Jayalalitha, she was never given any power by Jayalalitha and was restricted to being a backroom player who had her say in important decisions taken by J Jayalalitha with regards to party and also government. But now the same backroom player has kicked the door wide open and has emerged as the new face of the party under whose leadership party will seek the acceptance of people in the coming elections.

Party Treasurer and Chief Minister ,who also happens to be the first Chief Minister under AIADMK who doesn’t hold the office of General Secretary, Mr Panneer O Selvam said, “In tune with party rules, honourable Chinnamma is appointed as General Secretary and a resolution to this effect has been adopted”. The resolution was floated by Party Presidium Chairman E Madusudanan, Chief Minister O Panneersevlam and Edapadi Palanisamy.

Hailing Sasikala for her contribution towards the growth of the party, the resolution says it ‘unanimously given her (Sasikala) all the powers bestowed on the position of General Secretary (by party rules) to administer the party’. The senior leaders of the party including Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai and State Minister Edappadi Palanisamy have went to meet Sasikala at her residence to ‘request’ her to take charge of the party.

The transition happening in the party was evident when the solo Jayalalitha poster was replaced by the one in which J Jayalalitha is presenting flowers to Ms Natarajan, indirectly making a reference to shift in power centre. Panneer Selvam who was a staunch follower of Jayalalitha was all praises for Natarajan when he spoke to reporters where slogans of long live chinnamma were making huge noise. He said, “Like we saw MGR (founder of AIADMK) in Jayalalitha, we see Jayalalitha in Sasikala’. Sasikala will follow the footsteps of Jayalalitha adds Selvam who seems to have surrendered clearly to Sasikala and her leadership.

Even though transition has taken place very smoothly barring a few hiccups, it remains to see whether ‘Chinnamma’ can do the same magic as ‘Amma’ and win over not only the hearts of the party leaders but also the people of Tamil Nadu at large. She clearly seems to have won the first battle of demanding absolute loyalty of party workers but will she receive the love and respect of people of Tamil Nadu? Only time will tell.

Ramchandra Bhat