A year after former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016, the party has not found it easy to fill her vacuum. The year after her death saw three chief ministers, an internal split, a merger of two warring factions, defecting rebels, and more... The power tussle in the party and its resultant turmoil in the state show no signs of ending.
Here is a total recall of the developments from December 5, 2016 to December 5, 2017:
December 5: Noted Tamil film actress from the 60s to the 70s and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for six terms, J Jayalalithaa, dies at the age of 69, almost 74 days after being admitted to Apollo Hospitals in September. 'Amma', as she is affectionately called by millions, breathed her last at around 11:30 that night after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
December 6: In the wee hours after Jayalalithaa's death, O Panneerselvam or OPS, her loyalist and trusted aide assumes office as Chief Minister, for the third time in his political career.
December 10: Panneerselvam proposes V K Sasikala’s name for the post of general secretary of the party. Sasikala is the late CM's closest confidante, one of the handful who were privvy to Jayalalithaa's personal life.
December 29: AIADMK general council appoints Sasikala as general secretary; OPS and others hand over the resolution copy to Sasikala.
December 31: Sasikala takes charge as general secretary.
January 2: The chorus for making Sasikala the CM as well as general secretary rises.
February 5: Sasikala elected as leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party to make her CM. On the same day, OPS submits his resignation, citing personal reasons.
February 6: Governor accepts resignation of Panneerselvam, asks him to continue as caretaker CM.
February 7: In a totally unexpected move, OPS revolts against Sasikala and her family after meditating at Jayalalithaa's memorial for abour 50 minutes; hurls many charges against Sasikala; alleges that he was forced to resign to pave way for Sasikala to assume power. A new faction of AIADMK headed by O Panneerselvam is born. Party functionaries, MLAs, MPs meet him and convey their support.
February 8: Sasikala sacks Panneerselvam as AIADMK treasurer.
February 8: Sasikala moves 100-odd MLAs to Golden Bay Resort in Koovathur on East Coast Road, Mahabalipuram, to prevent them from defecting to the 'enemy' camp ahead of the trust vote, where the factions have to prove that the confidence of the majority in the House is with them. While some allege they have been taken against their will, most of the MLAs claim that it was of their own choice.
February 9: Sasikala stakes claim to form government.
February 10: Sasikala expels senior party leader E Madhusudanan as presidium chairman, appoints K A Sengottaiyan to that post.
February 11: Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao consults legal experts, delays invitation to Sasikala for forming government.
February 14: The Supreme Court convicts Sasikala in a 19-year-old disproportionate assets case; she is awarded a 4-year jail term. She is barred from contesting elections for the next ten years; Edappadi K Palaniswami or EPS is elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party while O Panneerselvam is expelled from the party along with other 'rebel' leaders. Another faction under EPS, a known Sasikala loyalist and a five—time MLA from Salem, is born.
February 15: TTV Dhinakaran, Sasikala's nephew, is appointed AIADMK deputy general secretary. Sasikala goes to Bengaluru Central Prison.
February 16: Edappadi K Palaniswami assumes office as CM.
February 18: The three-day-old government headed by EPS wins a confidence vote. and proves its majority in the House with 122 MLAs on its side, taken in the absence of principal opposition party DMK and its allies Congress and IUML.
February 24: Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa's niece, makes an official political entrance on the late Chief Minister's 69th birth anniversary; announces that she would contest the RK Nagar bypoll (necessitated by Jayalalithaa's death). Deepa, who had initially joined hands with the OPS faction, also launched what she called a federation - MGR Amma Deepa Peravai. (MADF)
March 13: AIADMK under the OPS faction moves the Election commission (EC) against appointment of Sasikala as party general secretary.
March 15: Dhinakaran is announced as candidate for RK Nagar bypoll.
March 17: Deepa's husband Madhavan quits wife's party; to float his own.
March 22: The EC freezes the party's Two Leaves symbol and recognises that there is a split in AIADMK. Says either party cannot use the symbol or the name AIADMK in the RK Nagar bypoll. The Election Commission allots Palaniswami camp "hat" as its symbol. The faction was named AIADMK (Amma). The O Panneerselvam camp is allotted 'electric pole' as its symbol and named as AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma).
April 10: EC cancels RK Nagar bypoll (scheduled for April 12) where Dhinakaran contested on charges of distribution of money and other 'systemic' allurements to voters.
April 18: The ruling AIADMK (Amma) faction announces that the team would hold talks with the Panneerselvam camp on a possible patch up. Palaniswami cabinet revolts against Dhinakaran and decides to keep him and his family out of the party and government.
April 20: Merger moves hit stumbling block with the Panneerselvam camp putting conditions, including a formal expulsion of Sasikala and Dhinakaran from the party, besides a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa's death.
April 25: Dhinakaran is arrested on charges of trying to bribe the EC to get the Two Leaves symbol.
May 19: The Panneerselvam camp approaches the Election Commission in Delhi urging it to restrain the Sasikala faction from using the AIADMK office.
June 2: Dhinakaran is released on bail.
June 5: Dhinakaran calls on his aunt Sasikala at the Bengaluru central prison; she advises him to wait and watch for the next 60 days.
June 5: EPS camp declares they are firm on keeping Dhinakaran and his family away from party affairs.
June 6: Retaliating, Dhinakaran shows his strength; many MLAs, MPs and functionaries call on him.
June 7: The number of MLAs supporting TTV rises to 33.
June 11: Panneerselvam dissolves a seven-member panel formed to hold merger talks with AIADMK (Amma) faction.
August 10: Prospects of merger brighten as the Amma faction says Dhinakaran's appointment as Deputy General Secretary was against party rules.
August 17: Palaniswami announces a Commission of Inquiry to go into the death of J Jayalalithaa, says her Poes Garden residence in Chennai will be turned into a memorial run by the government.
August 18: Dhinakaran meets Sasikala at Parapana Agrahara Prison in Bengaluru on her birthday. AIADMK's rival factions' marathon deliberations begin but make no headway with ticklish issues posing hurdles.
August 19: Palaniswami and Panneerselvam express confidence that the merger will happen soon.
August 21: The factions of AIADMK led by EPS and OPS merge, but another faction led by TTV emerges.
August 22: 18 MLAs backing TTV meet Governor and hand over letters informing they withdraw their support to the EPS government. They state that their intention was not to topple the government but to remove EPS from the post of CM as they had 'gotten disillusioned with the functioning of the government headed by Palaniswami as there has been abuse of power, favouritism, misuse of government machinery, widespread corruption'.
August 23: 18 out of 19 TTV loyalist MLAs taken to Windflower Resort in Puducherry to avoid poaching by OPS or EPS' camps.
August 30: CPM, CPI, MMK, VCK meet Tamil Nadu Governor; urge for a floor test. DMK insists that the Palaniswami government has lost its majority in view of revolt by 18 then MLAs, loyal to TTV.
September 12: General council meeting of the unified AIADMK cancels appointment of Sasikala as general secretary and appointment of TTV as Deputy General Secretary.
O Panneerselvam to be chief co-ordinator of the party and Edappadi Palaniswami will be assistant chief co-ordinator. All powers of General Secretary is given to the chief co-ordinator and assistant chief co-ordinator. Jayalalithaa will be eternal AIADMK party General Secretary. READ | AIADMK sacks Sasikala; Jaya will remain 'eternal' secretary of party
September 15: Amid turf war in the ruling party, the Madras High Court bars Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal from conducting a floor test. Justice M Duraiswamy gave the directive while passing interim orders on petitions filed by DMK working president M K Stalin and others seeking a direction to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to call for a floor test under the supervision of an independent observer appointed by the court.
September 18: In a move that instantly changed the numerical and, thus, political equation in Tamil Nadu, under the provisions of the anti-defection law, Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualifies the 18 MLAs who had turned against the 'Edappadi' K Palaniswami government and sided with ousted TTV, and handed over letters withdrawing support to the government to Governor Rao.
With the disqualification of the 18 MLAs, the strength of AIADMK has come down to 116 (including the Speaker). The DMK has 89 members, the Congress has eight MLAs and the IUML has one member. The assembly has 234 elected members and with 18 MLAs disqualified, there are 19 seats vacant now (with RK Nagar seat, which Jayalalithaa represented, remaining vacant). This means the assembly has only 215 elected members now. The government needs only 108 votes to prove its majority in the assembly now in case of a floor test. A clear advantage to the merged EPS-OPS faction.
September 21: The Madras High Court further extends its stay on conducting a floor test in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly until further orders and also restrained authorities from conducting by-elections to 18 constituencies, which were declared vacant, pursuant to the disqualification of the 18 dissident MLAs.
October 4: The Madras High Court had last month refused to stay the Speaker's order disqualifying the 18 rebel MLAs; says no trust vote should be held till its next order in the case; seats of the disqualified legislators to be kept vacant till then.
October 6: Sasikala released on ordinary leave from prison to visit ailing husband Natarajan.
November 9: I-T raids on the residences and premises of businesses owned by kith and kin of Sasikala across seveal states in the country.
November 17: IT raids at Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa.
November 23: EC restores Two Leaves symbol to AIADMK headed by EPS and OPS, sparking celebrations by their supporters and dealing a blow to the political ambitions of Sasikala.
November 24: EC notifies bypoll to RK Nagar on December 21.
November 25: The Madras HC directed the Superintendent of the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru, where Jayalalithaa was lodged for 21 days after her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in September 2014, to appear in-person on December 8 and produce the thumbprints that would have been taken when she was lodged in prison. This was in response to a plea filed stating that the left thumb impression of Jayalalithaa had been obtained in Forms A and B without her consent and knowledge, while she was convalescing at Apollo Hospitals.
November 28: Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal defended his decision to disqualify the 18 'rebel' MLAs (now with TTV), alleging that they were working in tandem with the opposition DMK to dislodge the government, as reported by The Hindu. The hearing on this matter has been adjourned to December 6, as 'a judicial review of a Speaker's decision has very limited scope'.
November 29: A day after three Rajya Sabha MPs defected from TTV Dhinakaran's camp to the ruling AIADMK, two Lok Sabha MPs, call on CM Palaniswami at his residence to convey their support to him.
November 30: E Madhusudhanan is AIADMK party candidate for RK Nagar by-election.
December 1: Intensifying the Tamil Nadu government-ordered probe into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's death, retired judge Arumughasamy, who heads the inquiry commission, sent summons to 60 people who knew information about her to provide a statement in a written document.
December 1: The Supreme Court today said the Madras High Court would soon decide on the pleas seeking disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs including O Panneerselvam, who had voted against the Palaniswami government in the February trust vote.
December 4: The Delhi High Court dismisses TTV-Sasikala camp's plea to use the 'hat' symbol in the RK Nagar bypoll.
December 5: J Jayalalithaa remembered on her first death anniversary with party veterans K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam leading workers in paying tributes to 'Amma' at her mausoleum here.
December 21: The upcoming RK Nagar bypoll is a litmus test for the AIADMK party. Will it be able to retain the prestigious seat that got vacated after their icon's death? What will it bode for the future of the party?
(With inputs from Express News Service and agencies)