Did Jayalalithaa even want Sasikala in active politics?

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The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is doing everything in its capacity to make Sasikala its leader. Sasikala Natarajan, the woman who has been Jayalalithaa's shadow for years is suddenly being portrayed as the only hope for the AIADMK. For years she has been associated with the party and Jayalalithaa, but not once has she ever contested an election. Did Jayalalithaa intend for Sasikala to ever be part of active politics? Would she not then have allowed Sasikala to contest elections when she were alive?

The AIADMK would like the people to believe that Sasikala automatically qualifies to be Jayalalithaa's heir apparent since she has spent the most time with her. The AIADMK's IT cell has used an interview of Jayalalithaa where she refers to Sasikala as her friend, sister and likens her to a mother to promote the idea of Sasikala being the next leader. In the same interview however, Jayalalithaa says Sasikala takes care of the house, manages her bills and supervises helpers at home. Jayalalithaa attributes no political aspirations to Sasikala.

Sasikala Natarajan

In all their years of friendship, Jayalalithaa had never nominated or referred Sasikala to electoral politics. Sasikala was never allowed to hold any position to which she had to be elected within the party or outside. She has only been seen in public accompanying Jayalalithaa. Sasikala has never given interviews. All her statements to the media have been press releases. Even now, when the AIADMK is urging her to take over the leadership of the party, she has remained quiet.

[Also Read: Dravidian parties look to new leadership as old guard fades away]

Is it Sasikala or none for AIADMK?

Why is the AIADMK adamant on making Sasikala, someone who has never been in active politics, lead the party? Political observers in Tamil Nadu believe that despite not being the face, she was always the brain behind decisions taken in the party and the government when AIADMK was at the helm of affairs. Sasikala is said to have been the back office operator to Jayalalithaa. Many party decisions including selection of candidates for elections were taken by Sasikala before Jayalalithaa approved of it. The carefully guarded Sasikala is well-versed with the way of politics, is something many in the political circles believe.

Attempts by AIADMK to get Sasikala to lead them seems to border on desperation. The party doesn't or isn't willing to consider any one else to lead them. While there are murmurs of dissent in the lower rung of the party, the loud chorus in support of Sasikala has suppressed all of it.

The lack of second rung leaders has hit the party hard. The party never prepared for an AIADMK after Jayalalithaa. No leaders were nurtured to lead the party if required. This crisis has forced them to look towards Sasikala since she is the only crowd pleaser and the obvious choice to ensure a united AIADMK. Despite Jayalalithaa's demise the 'Amma' card continues to be played.

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