Chennai: Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala Natarajan steps out for the first time since the last rites of Amma. She paid a visit to the residence veteran journalist Cho Ramaswamy to pay her last respects.
Later in the day, she presided over a crucial meeting of senior ministers and AIADMK functionaries at the Poes Garden bungalow.
All these years since coming to J. Jayalalithaa’s life in early 1980s, Ms Sasikala has been content being in the shadows of “Akka” (Jayalalithaa) and became indispensable for the late chief minister maintaining her house and even giving her medicines. It is common knowledge that she gained much power in th last few months.
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.
The ultimate demonstration that it will be Ms Sasikala who will be calling the shots was evident on the steps of Rajaji Hall, when she stood by the head of the late CM and received every visiting dignitary. One after the other, everyone went up to her to console.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi went a step ahead by placing his hand affectionately on her head as she broke down.
With the question of replacement to Chief Minister’s post being settled, albeit for now, AIADMK’s focus now shifts to the crucial and all-powerful post of general secretary of the 45-year-old party after the demise of J. Jayalalithaa, who held both posts.
For the first time in the history of the ruling party, its constitution and the general secretary post becomes important, unlike in the past when the post was held by charismatic leaders such as M. G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa.
It is unlikely that anyone would oppose Sasikala emerging as a power centre if not the general secretary of the party. And if Sasikala decides to stay away from limelight, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai could emerge as a compromise candidate for the post, but he is considered a “Delhi man” who is considered close to BJP.
Sasikala and her family are likely to inherit the late leader’s property worth Rs 113.73 crore.