VK Sasikala convicted

VK Sasikala convicted

J Jayalalithaa was a tall leader and wielded complete control of the AIDMK. On 05 Dec 16, after spending almost three months at the Apollo Hospital, she passed away. In the immediate aftermath of her death, her long-time companion Shashikala Natarajan appeared to be the heir apparent.

What is the future of the AIDMK Party?

J Jayalalithaa was a tall leader and wielded complete control of the AIDMK. On 05 Dec 16, after spending almost three months at the Apollo Hospital, she passed away. In the immediate aftermath of her death, her long-time companion Shashikala Natarajan appeared to be the heir apparent. Shri O Paneerselvam had officiated as Chief Minister for J Jayalalithaa three times; in 2001 and 2014 on account of adverse court verdicts and in 2016 on account of ill-health. However, within two months of her death a contest for power arose between the two power-brokers of the former Chief Minister.

On 14 Feb 17, the Supreme Court announced its verdict in the Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case. Shashikala Natarajan has been convicted to serve the remaining part of the four-year imprisonment, slapped a fine of Rs. 10 Crs. and been asked to surrender immediately. The conviction should also bar her from contesting elections for the next 10 years and effectively closes her political career, before it really began.

Assessment

CM J Jayalalithaa left large footprints but no successor. Charismatic and autocratic she was the successful Indian politician but perhaps never felt secure enough to groom a successor. The decks are now cleared for O Paneerselvam to finally become the incumbent CM and he will aspire to serve out the current term (2016-21). However, the AIDMK has been unable to throw up a new leader, worthy of wielding the reins late J Jayalalithaa controlled, so well. The vacuum of Jayalalithaa’s absence is an opportunity not just for Stalin’s DMK but for other national parties to gain a political foothold in elusive Tamil Nadu.

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