What You Wanted to Know about Tamil Nadu’s New CM Sasikala

The political situation of the state of Tamil Nadu never ceases to amaze – and continues to create headlines now for social now for political reasons. In the state’s tumultuous recent past, has been the passing of an iconic and beloved leader in Jayalalithaa, the Jalikattu protests and their aftermath and now Tamil Nadu is to have a new Chief Minster, who has never before actually held a political portfolio. It is Sasikala who will be the new Chief Minister of India’s Southern State.

Panneerselvam resigned

O Panneerselvam, often referred to as the CM’s Man Friday was the obvious choice to succeed J Jayalalithaa as the Chief Minister of TN. He had the political experience, a good amount of popular support and he had done the job before. Of course it helped that he has always been a diehard Jaya loyalist. After less than 2 months as CM, Panneerselvam tendered his resignation.

Why has O Panneerselvam resigned?

Known for his party loyalty and humility, he has always assumed position of CM and relinquished it without murmur more than once. This consolidates the perception of him as the puppet chief minister; who warms the seat for others and promptly resigns when required to do so. This is the third time he has stepped down; or rather stepped aside for someone else to assume the mantle.

This time he resigned for Sasikala

On 5 February 2017, Panneerselvam resigned from his position as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. This was done to make way for a new CM, Sasikala, the close aide of J Jayalalithaa. According to some, Panneerselvam did this in spite of having the support of his party, significant support from the people, and tacit approval of the BJP as well; he did this simply because he did not want to cross swords with Sasikala, who is a formidable presence in the party it is thought.

Who is Sasikala?

V K Sasikala is a well known figure and very close friend of Jayalalithaa. She is thought to be among the most powerful figures in the AIADMK party. It is thought that she has misused her power and influence to amass wealth, influence political decisions, and consolidate her position in state politics.

She has been a mysterious figure in TN politics

She was always to be seen in the background, always seeming to be around and about Jayalalithaa. Though she was expelled by Jayalalithaa from the party in 2011 along with Sasikala's husband, she was later reinstated as a party member. Upon the death of Jayalalithaa she was unanimously appointed as the party's general secretary.

Sasikala as CM - challenges ahead

Among other cases, Sasikala and her extended family have the disproportionate assets cases pending against them. She was actually convicted in three cases; which are currently pending before the Supreme Court. She has never actually held political office before, and as such may be seen as inexperienced for the job of CM. Add to this the fact that she doesn’t enjoy anything close to the sort of political and popular support that Jaya enjoyed and one can see how the road ahead will be highly challenging for C K Sasikala.

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