Will Sasikala take over as Tamil Nadu chief minister soon?

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The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLAs are expected to meet on Sunday following which new political developments are expected in Tamil Nadu, one of them may also include party MLAs choosing Sasikala as their legislative party leader effectively proposing to make her the chief minister. Speculations are also rife that Sasikala may take over as Chief Minister soon. While February 9 or 8 was speculated as the date for her to take over initially, sources suggest that it may happen as early as Februay 6 to counter any opposition that may arise.

Sasikala Natarajan

The systematic removal of Jayalalithaa loyalists from top posts in Tamil Nadu was intended at sending a strong message out to everyone: 'Sasikala is the new boss and she will call the shots'. The unceremonious ouster of top bureaucrats in Tamil Nadu including Jayalalithaa aide Sheela Balakrishnan is a 'cleaning up process', say political observers.

[Jayalalithaa's aide Sheela Balakrishnan shown the door]

The ousting Jayalalithaa's aides is only the first step towards clearing any hurdle that may come in the way of Sasikala or threaten her elevation, say sources. "Not becoming the chief minister undermines her authority within the party and in the state. Sasikala has to become CM to stay relevant. The resistance against her is huge and assuming power is the only way to contain it," said political observer Ramasubramanian.

Sources suggested that the ouster of the IAS officers had more to do with the central government than them being Jayalalithaa loyalists. "Most of these IAS officers, including Sheela Balakrishnan had become loyalists of the central government soon after Jayalalithaa's death. It is quite natural that Sasikala doesn't want anyone around her to function as the eyes and ears of the Modi government. It was imperative to get rid of anyone who could pose even a remote threat to Sasikala's leadership," sources said.

"The shots are being called by Sasikala's husband Natarajan and they will stop at nothing.

Their fight is with the central government directly that is trying to gain a grip on the current scenario in Tamil Nadu. Sasikala doesn't trust people like Sheela Balakrishnan to stand by her as they had stood by Jayalalithaa. This is going to be a fight to the finish," said the policial analyst.

Meanwhile, reports on possible transfers of more IAS officers are doing the rounds. Sources suggest that IAS officer Sabitha is likely to join Ramalingam and Venkatraman, who were shifted out of the chief minister's office.

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