Sasikala 'unacceptable to most people' of TN: Chidambaram

Even as media reports suggest that preparations are on for Sasikala to take oath as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, an online petition on Change.org against the CM-in-waiting has amassed over 100,000 signatures, and counting.

Just two months ago, Sasikala held no position in the party or government and till date hasn't addressed a public meeting.

On Sunday, AIADMK top leaders had decided that Sasikala Natarajan, the acting head of the party, will take over as the chief minister.

While the ruling party now enjoys a comfortable majority, once Ms Sasikala is sworn in as chief minister, she will have to contest and win elections within six months. She was elected as the Legislative party leader by the AIADMK MLAs yesterday, following which Chief Minister O Panneerselvam tendered his resignation.

PMK, a party with a strong base among the Vanniyar community in north Tamil Nadu, slammed the move to make Sasikala the chief minsiter. Congress veteran P Chidambaram too joined the chorus, saying, "Looking back with pride, Tamil Nadu chief minister's chair was occupied by Kamaraj and Annadurai".

Sasikala's influence over Jayalalitha also became the source of intense media speculation and tabloid gossip. After taking charge of the party, she had pledged to take forward the legacy of the former Chief Minister. Rival parties like the DMK have objected to a person "not elected by the people" being anointed chief minister.

Never given any formal role by Jayalalitha in the party or the state government, Sasikala's role was always that of aide and confidante.

Amma's demise on December 5 was seen as a personal loss for Sasikala who resided with Jayalalithaa at the latter's house Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden, even choosing to stay away from her husband.

Sasikala accompanied Jayalalithaa to prison when the latter was arrested in a disproportionate assets case.

Sasikala's elevation saw her supporters celebrating it by bursting crackers and distributing candies at many places.

Ms Sasikala was the one managing party affairs during Ms Jayalalithaa's illness.

  • Delores Daniels