Reading between bytes of Sasikala's audio politics

On the flip side, Palaniswami has been strengthening his position within the AIADMK, which was visible during the recent legislature party meeting.

Published: 19th June 2021 07:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2021 07:19 AM   |  A+A-

VK Sasikala

VK Sasikala. (File photo |EPS)

A day after the AIADMK legislature party meeting chose O Panneerselvam as deputy leader of the Opposition, V K Sasikala, the confidante of late CM J Jayalalithaa, sent audio clips to more than 10 party functionaries with a message that she “will work for Amma’s party for life”. In her latest attempt to drive a wedge between Paneerselvam and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Sasikala said she would have picked Panneerselvam as CM had he not staged a revolt against her by sitting on a fast at Jayalalithaa’s samadhi in 2017, which he later described as dharma yudham (fight for dharma). But the fact remains that she and her family treated the then CM Paneerselvam like a doormat and humiliated him at every turn in the tumultuous weeks that followed the demise of Jayalalithaa. That he went on the fast only after he was forced to step down to make way for her as chief minister just before the Supreme Court verdict in a disproportionate assets case is well documented. Her pious statements now are only meant to stir the party cauldron to create space for herself. The fact that the audio files in circulation are of calls she selectively made to a few cadre and some disgruntled elements—and not the other way round—clearly shows her desperation. Watching quietly from the flanks is her garrulous and ambitious nephew T T V Dhinakaran, who floated a rebel party and damaged the AIADMK without winning a single seat in the state elections.

On the flip side, Palaniswami has been strengthening his position within the AIADMK, which was visible during the recent legislature party meeting. Despite being the AIADMK’s coordinator, Panneerselvam failed in his efforts to make one of his supporters the party whip in the Assembly, as EPS loyalist S P Velumani made it to the post. That apart, the meeting had MLAs rallying against Sasikala. Also, 17 of her loyalists were expelled from the party.

That Palaniswami managed to reach out and mollify the sulking Panneerselvam showed his tact. EPS appears to be playing his cards well at the moment. He, however, needs to be careful not to let vacuum build up over time, creating room for a hostile takeover.


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