VK Sasikala, who was denied a party post all along by Jayalalithaa, was on Thursday unanimously nominated as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary in the name of the departed Amma.
Her nomination will be followed by a formal election at a general council (GC), but the die has been cast. Party seniors do not expect any other nomination for the post.
The general council, which met at Vanagaram in suburban Chennai, was attended by over members, and nominated Sasikala as the interim leader till she is formally elected.
Sasikala, as was expected, did not attend the meeting. Chief minister O Panneerselvam, who, along with senior leaders handed over the resolution to Sasikala, said she had accepted the request of the party.
The council resolved that Jayalalithaa should be given the Bharat Ratna, the Magsaysay Award, and that her statue should be unveiled in Parliament. However, the focus was not on Jayalalithaa but her aide, Sasikala.
Party presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan and former minister C Ponnaiyan were among those who spoke briefly on the resolutions. Ponnaiyan said there will be no contest for the post of general secretary.
The elevation of Sasikala has come as a well-orchestrated puppet show, with her family members pulling all the strings in her favour. The Poes Garden will continue to be a power centre in Tamil Nadu, Amma or no Amma.
At the moment, Sasikala is sitting pretty, having assumed all the powers of the general secretary. The next few steps would now be easier for her now that she is in full control of the party apparatus.
With all district units, ministers and MLAs supporting her election, it is clear that her writ will run.
However, on the day of her elevation, a shocker came from the Madras High Court, as a Bench observed that there were many unanswered questions surrounding the death of Jayalalithaa, which was a “mystery”. “The state government has failed to clear the doubts even after her death. Should her body be exhumed to know the truth?” they asked.
Justice S Vaidyanathan and V Parthiban were hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking the appointment of a commission comprising three retired Supreme Court (SC) judges to probe into the “mysterious” death of Jayalalithaa.
The Bench ordered notice to the Centre, the Prime minister’s Office and the Tamil Nadu government, and censured the Union government for not revealing any information on the ”mystery” surrounding her death.
“Representatives of the central government visited the hospital. Counsel for the Union government claims to know the details of the incidents. But still the authorities have not conveyed or brought out anything to the people, for reasons best known to them,” the petition of PA Stalin, a primary member of the AIADMK, said.
He referred to the precedent of the Calcutta High Court in 1999, directing the constitution of a one-man commission of a retired apex court judge to probe into the death of Netaji Subhash Chandra
Stalin also wanted the court to pass interim order to the state authorities and the Apollo Hospitals calling for all official and other relevant records and documents in connection with the death.
The judges referred to doubts mentioned in the media over the death of Jayalalithaa.
“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt,” Justice Vaidyalingam said, adding, “One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late Chief Minister MGR, a video was released,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.
When a special mention was made by senior counsel K M Vijayan, advocate general Muthukumaraswamy said there was no mystery in the death. The Bench referred the PIL to the Chief Justice to list the plea in an appropriate Bench.
On a day when Sasikala assumed control of the party, the observations of the bench must have come as a shock to the Sasikala family.