Sasikala Natarajan: After Amma, AIADMK now banks on Chinamma
Sasikala's supporters say that she had been Jayalalithaa's aide, sister, friend and confidante for 30 years through Amma's ups and downs.
Chennai: Tamil Nadu`s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party on Thursday passed a resolution that VK Sasikala, a close aide of the late Chief Minister and party leader J Jayalalithaa, is the only person fit to become the party`s General Secretary.
The party`s general council passed the resolution at its meeting here.
Here are a few facts about 'Chinamma', as Sasikala is known in her circles:
- Sasikala's supporters say that she had been Jayalalithaa's aide, sister, friend and confidante for 30 years through Amma's ups and downs. She had also earned the sobriquet of 'Jayalalithaa's shadow' by detractors.
- Sasikala had come in contact with Jayalalithaa in the 80s as a video company owner, getting the leader's various events covered.
- Hailing from a humble background from Mannargudi in south Tamil Nadu, Sasikala gradually gained acceptance in the Veda Nilayam residence.
- Sasikala would usually be seen seated in the rear seat of the vehicle, merely watching Jayalaithaa's electoral addresses, and providing her 'akka' (sister) with assistance.
- She became an acknowledged power centre in the AIADMK because of her proximity to Jayalalithaa and insiders say that her opinions counted towards the selection of ministers and party candidates.
- Sasikala is also one of the main accused in a case that alleges that Jayalalithaa misused her office from 1991-1996 to collect assets worth Rs 66 crores that cannot be accounted for.
- Jayalalithaa had ousted Sasikala twice from the party, once in 1996 after the AIADMK's electoral drubbing and in 2011 months after the party wrested power again from DMK.
- It was in deference to a public perception that AIADMK was routed in the 1996 Assembly polls only because of Jayalalithaa's close association with Sasikala and her kin that also led to 'Amma' facing jail term. In particular, the extravagant wedding of Jayalalithaa's foster son VN Sudhakaran, since disowned, in 1995 as among the reasons for Sasikala's expulsion.
- The relations between Jayalalithaa and Sasikala had once again hit a rock bottom in 2011 when the former expelled the latter and scores of her relatives following allegations that they interfered in the affairs of the party and government.
- Sasikala had on March 28, 2012, issued a statement that she had snapped ties with all those who had "betrayed" Jayalalithaa. Accepting the explanation, Jayalalithaa had on March 31 announced that the disciplinary action against Sasikala was cancelled.