29 September, 2020

While Amma’s Throne Awaits

Sasikala’s coup was always lurking in the script somewhere, but OPS’s defiance has stumped her

Tears Of Ambition
Sasikala weeps at Jayalalitha’s ­memorial with Panneerselvam in the background
Photograph by Getty Images
While Amma’s Throne Awaits

History has the uncanny knack of repeating itself with a remarkable orderliness. Those who witnessed the 40-minute meditation of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam at J. Jayalalitha’s memorial on February 7 and his calculated outbursts later on against AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala, cannot but be thrown back to the 1980s. After M.G. Ramachandran’s death in 1987, the AIADMK was caught in a similar situation. Revolting against the then leadership of MGR’s wife Janaki, Jayalalitha said she was humiliated by Janaki’s supporters, just as Panneerselvam talked of his own humiliation at the hands of his fellow-party persons. The party’s major leaders had thrown their lot behind Janaki while the mas­ses hailed Jayalalitha as a leader.

Again, the events unfolding in Tamil Nadu today bear an uncanny resemblance. The party supports Sasikala while the general public seem to be in overwhelming favour of Panneerselvam . Sasikala’s February 5 decision to become the chief minister was not all that unexpected. Ever since she took over...



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