VK Sasikala, erstwhile powerful backroom strategist and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s lieutenant, is waiting to mount a surprise and seize AIADMK reins and planning the final assault.
Sasikala protege EK Palaniswami has turned against her and thwarting her attempts with support from BJP top brass. Whose words were once edict in the party, she now fights isolation after the poll drubbing in 2021 Assembly elections.
Her coterie however refuses to accept that she has conceded.
Padmanabhan R, a social activist and managing trustee of the Socio Economic Foundation, a social research institute based out of Madurai, said, “Sasikala knows all the backroom maneuverings and how to work out among the AIADMK leadership. I’m sure that she is waiting for the right moment to take control of the party.”
Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, who has floated the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), are expecting the corruption cases against Palaniswami and his erstwhile AIADMK colleagues to gain momentum.
The recent interrogation of the first accused in the Kodanad murder and heist cases has triggered turmoil in the AIADMK camp as Palaniswami’s supporters criticise the government saying that the DMK government is trying to frame the former CM in the case.
Also early morning raids at the homes of two leaders in the Palaniswami camp-former Transport minister MR Vijayabaskar and ex-Urban minister SP Velumani-torment the party.
The interrogation of the first accused in the Kodanad murder case portends questioning for Palansiwami as his camp fears that Sasikala might be awaiting that opportunity.
She is also aiming for a political realignment with her one-time associate Panneerselvam, taking into consideration that both she and Panneerselvam are from the powerful Thevar community and that this may lead to a forging.
However, for such an association, there has to be solid charges against Palaniswami, and with the BJP support behind him, the DMK government might hestiate to take action without substantial evidence.
Sasikala and her associates are expecting that if some action is taken against the Palaniswami, the Leader of the Opposition, the BJP leadership, including the Prime Minister, may not have a moral ground to throw their weight behind him.
The Mannargudi Family, as Sasikala and her clan is known, is expecting such a situation and to then take over AIADMK with the support of the faction close to Panneerselvam.