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Road ahead seems challenging for ‘Chinamma’ Sasikala Natarajan

Questions raised over her lack of experience in running the government along with the disproportionate assets case do little to ease her situation.

Written by Kanishka Singh | New Delhi |
February 6, 2017 3:56:57 pm
Chennai: AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala after attending the party MLA's meeting in which she was elected as AIADMK Legislative party leader, set to become Tamil Nadu CM, at Party's Headquarters in Chennai on Sunday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar Chennai: AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala at Party’s Headquarters in Chennai. (PTI Photo)

The road ahead for Sasikala Natarajan, who is set take over as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, seems to be challenging and rocky as she gears up to take her first position in public office. It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out in the next couple of months given the fact that rifts have already started to emerge in the party. Questions raised over her lack of experience in running the government along with the disproportionate assets case do little to ease her situation.

AIADMK MLAs have claimed in reports that former chief minister O Panneerselvam was forced to resign from his post as CM and head of AIADMK legislature party. Adding to her woes, the Supreme Court has announced it will deliver its final verdict in a week in the disproportionate assets case involving Sasikala and Jayalalithaa.

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Considering former chief minister O Panneerselvam’s resignation has been accepted by the Governor, it is only a matter of time when Sasikala takes oath of office. The 61-year-old Sasikala was unanimously elected the chief of AIADMK legislature party on Sunday after Panneerselvam proposed her name for the post. Sasikala, who was appointed the party General Secretary days after the demise of Jayalalithaa will soon take the oath for office of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

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Her climb to the top of Tamil Nadu politics has been spectacular and bemusing in equal measure. Till late last year, Sasikala, a long time aide to Jayalalithaa, who had never held a post in either the AIADMK or the government, was made the party chief. Despite never being elected to office before, she is now pulling the strings in the state legislature and the party.

Her complete lack of experience in running the government or the party have not gone unnoticed and is being touted as one of the biggest challenges for her to overcome. Sasikala will also have to walk the tough mile to gain the confidence of the people as their leader. For now, she enjoys the support of the legislature party. That support may even extend to delegates and members. How much of the party cadre accept her as the CM is yet unknown. Also, Panneerselvam was seen as a Jayalalithaa loyalist, one who was entrusted with Jayalalithaa’s vision for the party and the government. He was familiar with the people.

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It is beyond belief how easily most of the party members have taken to her leading the party. AIADMK is historically seen dramatic handovers of power. Sasikala’s is a similar case. It remains to be seen how she answers her doubters.

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