Is BJP in charge of Tamil Nadu now? What the insiders think

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As the merger talks continue and Sasikala Natarajan and family continue to be sidelined, the rumour mills in Tamil Nadu are abuzz with talk that the Bharatiya Janata Party is stirring this activity. Some within the AIADMK have blamed the BJP for the split and then the ouster of Sasikala and T T V Dinakaran from the party.

Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dinakaran

The question is does the BJP which does not have a presence in Tamil Nadu want to control the AIADMK remotely? The BJP has said that it has no hand in all this and would be happy if the government led by Chief Minister E Palanisamy governs the state well.

Sasikala is no novice:

Following the death of Jayalalithaa, it was assumed that Sasikala would take over as the party boss. She stood with Jayalalithaa in the hospital and oversaw the activities of the party. After Jayalalithaa's death, she ensured that there was no trouble and ensured a smooth transition within the party by making O Panneeerselvam the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

However, trouble began after OPS quit the CM's post and a few days later went on to say that his decision was a forced one. OPS the man who became famous for the way in which he prostrated before Jayalalithaa was suddenly being compared to Rajanikanth. One liners from the popular movie, Kabaali were being attributed to him. Memes such as "OPS da," started doing the rounds.

This sudden show of strength and guts from OPS according to many was due to the backing he may have had from the centre. There was talk that Sasikala while taking the advise of her husband Natarajan was refusing to playing puppet in the hands of the BJP.

Sasikala may have sensed that OPS is being controlled by the BJP. She immediately forced him to resign and ensured that scores of AIADMK leaders queued up before her pleaded with her to become the party boss. OPS however revolted and took a few MLAs with him.

She then moved her MLAs to the resort in a bid to keep her flock together. However just as she was getting set to take control of Tamil Nadu as the chief minister, the disproportionate assets case bit her, following which she was jailed for a term of four years.

Family time:

Sasikala, however, did not give up even the DA verdict by the SC. She first installed EPS as the CM. She however realised that EPS was a temporary loyalist. She then brought her nephew Dinakaran back into the party. TTV, as Dinakaran is called, had been expelled by Jayalalithaa.

As Sasikala made her moves, many party workers watched these brazen acts with disgust. Sasikala went a step ahead and ensured that TTV was made the candidate for the R K Nagar by-election. R K Nagar, for most AIADMK workers is a pilgrimage site since it was their Amma's constituency.

This was the last straw for many in the AIADMK who felt that their existence in the party was in doubt. They were disgusted and feared that the party was becoming a family affair.

For the AIADMK to grow without their leader, 'Amma,' the only option was to keep Sasikala and family out of the party. E Palanisamy, who was installed as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu with the blessings of Sasikala before she went to jail realised that keeping the family away was the only way forward.

Both the OPS and EPS camps, which are holding merger talks felt that Sasikala are family may be popular within the party, but not in the state. The decision by the EPS camp to oust Sasikala and family was a step taken keeping in mind the growth of the party.

During the talks between the two factions, it was decided that the AIADMK should be portrayed as a party being run by Sasikala and family. 'We need to take it forward as Amma's party,' AIADMK leaders decided.

Trouble and more trouble:

For Sasikala and family, it has not been smooth sailing. Many within the party feel that the BJP is in control of the party today. They see a direct Delhi connection in the events that have taken place in the past couple of days.

Some Dinakaran loyalists question the sudden turn of events. The Income Tax Department, the police and other agencies that fall under the control of the Centre are at his throat. The ECI bribery case, the income tax raids during the by-polls are all the doing of Delhi, his loyalists feel. This, they feel was being done to keep the Sasikala family at bay since they were unable to take control.

The story for now is that Sasikala and her family are at an all time low. While she is in jail for the next four years, her husband has not been active owing to ill-health. To make matters worse, Sasikala's nephew Mahadevan passed away.

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