India: Power struggle in Tamil Nadu: AIADMK CM Panneerselvam, rival Sasikala fight to control ruling AIADMK party and Tamil Nadu!

–Dr. Abdul Ruff


The ruling AIADMK crisis of Tamil Nadu is sending out conflicting signals in India as Tamil Nadu is being deprived of governance for months while intense power struggle is rocking the ruling AIADMK party and the government of Panneerselvam, following revolt by him against Sasikala, a close friend of former CM Jayalalithaa and who by using Panneerselvam, among other important leaders, has taken over the party is seeking to become the CM of the state as quickly as possible. Sasikala has occupied Jayalalithaa’s Poes garden bungalow and her costly cars among other important assets and it appears she suddenly entered the party politics soon after the demise of Jayalalithaa only to acquire all assets of Jayalalithaa and control the party and government, obviously looting the state resources at will.

Photographs released by Sasikala’s office show her standing in front of Jayalalithaa’s burial site with a list of MLAs maybe her ministerial team members as well who supposedly support her candidacy for CM post. Obviously Sasikala has big secret agenda and even Jayalalithaa’s death looks like a conspiracy to elevate Chinnamma (little mother) Sasikala to the level of Jayalalithaa.

Both CM Panneerselvam and dreaming Sasikala met the governor Vidyasagar Rao  on February 06  but the latter has not  revealed anything to both while he sent a detailed report to  the President, the Modi government and Home Minister in New Delhi about the  recent developments in the state and  maybe suggesting  a course of action by them to resolve the political crisis arousing out of Sasikala’s strenuous efforts to assume power by removing Panneerselvam.

With Jayalalithaa no more to control Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the AIADMK, and government and her friend Sasikala  trying to assert herself by putting herself into Jayalalithaa’s shoes to control the party and government, Tamil the AIADMK, now under General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, is locked in a bitter all-out war within with the acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam vowing to stay put in office while Sasikala, feeling suffocated  that he  put  a spanner  to her rising  prowess, has called him a “traitor” and accused him of trying to split the party with the DMK’s backing. Panneerselvam has in an interview to Thanthi TV made it clear that he tolerated Sasikala and team seeking to control the party and co government could not object to Sasikala’s aggressive moves for power because he did not want to be cause of split in the party.

Sasikala convened a meeting on February 08 with MLAs where she got their support for her agenda and also took away their mobiles so that they don’t talk to others. Later she has taken all MLAs to n undefined destination and put them in five star hotels – near tourist destination Mahabalipuram. Her supporters defend the Sasikala action as being tactical move

Clearly Sasikala, going by an elaborate planning has managed majority support but if she loses some 10 MLAs, she would majority in the assembly. Aleady 6 MLAs have expressed support for CM Panneerselvam. Thus both Sasikala and OPS camps claim majority support among the AIADMK’s 134 MLAs in Tamil Nadu. In the latest drama, nearly 130 of those legislators have been bussed to a hotel near the Chennai airport by Sasikala to make sure they don’t switch camps. It seems many MLAs are under duress under Sasikala.

Both camps claim majority support among the AIADMK’s 134 MLAs in Tamil Nadu. In the latest drama, nearly 130 of those legislators have been bussed to a hotel near the Chennai airport by Sasikala to make sure they don’t switch camps. The MLAs are expected in New Delhi tomorrow to meet President Pranab Mukherjee. AIADMK MPs have reached Delhi to meet the president and raise the issue in the parliament.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is expected to play a key role in resolving the crisis or recommend President’s Rule in the state, is in Mumbai, triggering the Congress charge that the BJP is trying to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu. He is expected to be in Chennai on February 09 and might meet the MLAs.

TV channels in Tamil Nadu and Delhi keep debating the issue from various ankles.

Meanwhile, CM Panneerselvam has asked banks not to release any money to AIADMK without his permission as he remains the treasurer of AIADMK.

Panneerselvam  said Jayalalithaa asked him to the CM but Sasikala team is persecuting him. Sasikala camp is now publishing photographs of Jayalalithaa with Sasikala during their  hey days to show how close they are. Both fought an got separated for a couple of years and the illegal assets case proceedings brought them together once again.

With Jayalalithaa’s photo in his shirt pocket, a teary-eyed Panneerselvam was watched by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. Before leaving the memorial, Panneerselvam also did a parikrama of Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

While Sasikala claimed that it was Panneerselvam who wanted her to become the party chief and the Chief Minister, he has not spoken on the subject publicly.

In another dramatic turn in Tamil Nadu’s politics, the incumbent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam tonight made an unscheduled visit at AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa’s memorial and sat there meditating for almost 40 minutes.

With Jayalalithaa’s photo in his shirt pocket, a teary-eyed Panneerselvam was watched by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. Before leaving the memorial, Panneerselvam also did a parikrama of Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

Addressing the media after his meditation, Paneerselvam said, “Jayalalithaa’s soul called out to me, so i came here to search my conscious. Also, I want to tell some truth to the people of this country and party cadre.”

He said, “I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Ammaa (Jaya) .

Sasikala’s team is pressurizing me.” “I am the conscience keeper of Amma. But I resolved to myself that I will continue to work in Amma’s name and that’s when Cyclone Vardah also happened. I worked not for myself but for amma’s spirit. I did everything possible to ensure Vardah wasn’t an issue and that irritated Sasikala.”

Panneerselvam said, “Minister Udhayakumar told me Sasikala must become chief minister. I asked if it was ok considering that the legislative party chose me. He said if you don’t agree, I will show you. Another minister came to me and assured me that Udhayakumar’s words were wrong, but he went and said the same thing in Madurai. MLA Sengottaiyan also said the same thing. Some legislators spoke to me and I told them that I’m sitting here as the chief minister then why are they humiliating me like this.” He said, “If people are with me I will take back my resignation.”

The AIADMK leader, who became the Chief Minister after Jayalalithaa died on December 5, quit on Sunday to make way for VK Sasikala to take charge of the government.

The AIADMK today said the Governor is constitutionally obligated to swear-in duly-elected person as Chief Minister and that it was not worried over the legal challenges against impending swearing-in of Sasikala to the top elected post. “It is a constitutional obligation on the part of a Governor to swear-in a duly-elected person as the Chief Minister,” AIADMK spokesperson Panruti S. Ramachandran said. Asked about the delay in the government formation, Ramachandran said the party is awaiting Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s return to Chennai.

Actor Kamal Hasan spoke about the anger of the people of Tamil Nadu, especially the sense of betrayal and how they must come to the streets if their politicians don’t get their act together. The actor said that O Panneerselvam is competent enough to lead Tamil Nadu and Sasikala, in a sense, should back off from confrontation. In his interview, Haasan agreed that Sasikala’s proximity to Jayalalithaa is no reason for her to become the chief minister and she should back off and let the people decide.

“Time of dice playing was done with in Mahabharat. We can’t be playing dice and hawking our family wives and lives, in favour of some numbers (Sasikala’s MLA support). We don’t trade. We are the people,” said Haasan.

On Sasikala imposing her will – “Even I cannot impose my will. I can speak what I think, but can’t impose. I may be proven wrong, but I must speak. Tamil Nadu has not had the best of service from politicians for more than 60 years. The first 10 years were glorious, but Congress..Kamraj-ji, Raja-ji. they all became complacent. Then came Dravidian parties. Those promises were also not kept,” said Haasan.

Jayalalithaa’s preference for Panneerselvam has upset most ministers in Jayalalithaa cabinet and they all waited for a chance to fix him.

It appears Sasikala and her allies were upset that Panneerselvam won the jallikattu fight with the central government while Sasikala had no role in it.


All of sudden Sasikala came to limelight as she moved swiftly to capture the party and government.

  1. Addressing AIADMK MLAs at the party headquarters, Sasikala accused Panneerselvam of committing an “evil act” by covertly aligning with the DMK to undermine the ruling party.
  2. “Nobody will believe that I forced him to resign as Chief Minister. Not the people, nor the (AIADMK) cadres,” she said.
  3. “This is a deceitful plan of the DMK,” she said, referring to DMK leader MK Stalin’s opposition to her attempts to become the Chief Minister.
  4. Refuting Sasikala’s allegation that it was aiding Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in his revolt against his party’s leadership, DMK said its support to him was issue-based.
  5. Day after Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala, the long-time confidante of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa accused the acting Chief Minister of “betrayal” after he refused to back her plans to head the government.
  6. On his part, Panneerselvam announced that a Supreme Court judge will head a Commission of Inquiry to probe the December 5 demise of Jayalalithaa. He said there were many questions over the death.
  7. Asked if he would stake claim to form the government as Chief Minister again, he told the media: “Wait and see.”
  8. Meanwhile, amid political uncertainty, Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who also holds charge for Tamil Nadu, continued to stay put in Mumbai with no indication of when he will travel to Chennai.
  9. The Congress has alleged the BJP is trying to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu “unconstitutionally” and instructing the Governor to not go to the state.
  10. Denying the allegation, the BJP said it had no role in the “internal matters” of the crisis-ridden AIADMK and asserted that Governor will take a decision soon to resolve the issue.


Dr Abdul Ruff

Prolific writer, Educationist; Independent Analyst; Investigative journalist, Columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics; Expert on Mideast affairs, Chronicler of foreign occupations & freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); Commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, Former university teacher; Author of eBooks/books; *Editor: International Opinion, Foreign Policy; Palestine Times: website: email;Phone*: 91-7293435028 *Thanks the remuneration if sent to my State Bank of India - Account No: **62310377429 Bank Code: **SBIN0020731 *(Earlier it was State bank of Hyderabad)

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