Can AIADMK get out of its image trap problem?

Anna Durai had in 1949 broken away from Periyar Ramaswami to float the DMK. In 1972 the DMK was split and the AIADMK was formed under MGR.

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Chennai, Dec 7: The post of general secretary in the AIADMK is a very important one. As of now all indications are that Sasikala Natarajan will succeed Jayalalithaa as the next General secretary of the party. These are crucial days for the AIADMK as the party for the first time is without a charismatic leader.

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Right from keeping the party united and also ensuring that the image of the AIADMK is intact, there is a lot of work ahead. The mantle is obviously on Sasikala who has never held a position in government or the party. For Sasikala the job ahead will not be an easy one. Her immediate worry is the disproportionate assets case that is pending before the Supreme Court. If the verdict of trial court is upheld it would mean that she spends 4 years in jail.

Will Sasikala take the ship forward?

Sasikala would not only have to keep the Image of the party intact, but also ensure that there is no split. Splits and Dravidian parties go hand in hand. Anna Durai had in 1949 broken away from Periyar Ramaswami to float the DMK. In 1972 the DMK was split and the AIADMK was formed under MGR.

The AIADMK has been a victim of the image trap. MGR was a charismatic leader who was elevated to the status of demi God. The case of Jayalalithaa was no different and she ensured that the party functioned smoothly under her image.

These are key factors for the survival of the AIADMK. When MGR passes away, party cadres immediately looked for a star and they found that in Jayalalithaa. Today there is no star in the AIADMK and most of the leaders have been written about in the press and termed as puppets.

Unlike the DMK, there is no successor in the AIADMK. At least for now, there is no word on whether Amma had appointed a successor or not. Sasikala became the natural choice to run the party due to her extreme proximity with Jayalalithaa. Although she never held any position, insiders have always said that she called all the shots.

The politics ahead in Tamil Nadu in the days to come will be very interesting. With no leader in the AIADMK who can hold his or her own, there is bound to be interference by national parties. This is likely to the see the end of a two party dominance system in Tamil Nadu.

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