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16 Feb 2017

Sasikala's parting proxy: nephew

G.C. SHEKHAR, TT, Chennai, Feb. 15: V.K. Sasikala, who was taught the meaning of "immediately" by the Supreme Court this morning, sought to build her own dynasty before setting out to serve her jail term near Bangalore.
She appointed her nephew, T.T.V. Dinakaran, the deputy general secretary of the AIADMK after readmitting him into the party along with another nephew, S. Venkatesh, early today.
Both, along with many of Sasikala's relatives, had been expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in December 2011. While Sasikala was taken back three months later, the others were not.
It became clear that in her absence, Dinakaran, a former Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MP, would hold the reins of the party. This would mean she would have two proxies - one for the government (E.K. Palaniswami, whom Sasikala has nominated as chief minister) and another for the party.
"She has not learnt her lesson. The public anger against her family is at its peak, especially after the Supreme Court verdict. And yet she appoints Dinakaran, which would only further drive away the cadres," said senior AIADMK leader S.R. Subramanian, who is now in the camp of O. Panneerselvam, the caretaker chief minister who has revolted against Sasikala.
Karuppusamy Pandian, a senior leader, has quit his post as organising secretary in protest, alleging that MGR's party was being hijacked by the Sasikala family.
The ball is now in governor Vidyasagar Rao's court. Both Palaniswami and Pannerselvam met the governor today with claims of enough support to form the government.
Apparently, Sasikala's MLAs are sticking together to ensure that the comfortable majority of 124 legislators they enjoy in a House of 233 does not get whittled down. "We will prove our majority in the house once E.K. Palaniswami is sworn in as chief minister," said Thanga Thamilselvan, an MLA from the Sasikala group.
AIADMK Rajya Sabha member Navaneethakrishnan complained to the media that the governor was acting in an unconstitutional manner even after Palaniswami had staked claim to form the government with a majority of the MLAs.
S.S. Saravanan, an MLA, filed a case of abduction and confinement against the convicted leader and Palaniswami. Following his complaint, a large police force led by the district SP reached the resort and took a submission from all the MLAs that they were staying there because they wanted to.
In the morning, Sasikala's efforts to delay her surrender crashed in the Supreme Court.
"Hope you understand the meaning of immediately, Mr Tulsi?" Justice P.C. Ghose asked senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi who appeared for Sasikala and sought a week for her to surrender.
THREE SLAPS 
WHAT THEY MEAN
V.K. Sasikala made a pit stop at Jayalalithaa’s memorial before driving down to the prison near Bangalore on Wednesday. 
 As her eyes welled up and her lips quivered, Sasikala slapped her palm thrice on the flower-decked marble slab at the memorial and uttered some words. Watching on TV, many in the north of the Vindhyas asked: what exactly was she doing? Some — on both sides of the mountain range — wise-cracked: “Poor Amma cannot escape her slap even after death.” 
 A meme showed comedian Vadivelu asking: “If this is how she treats the Samaadhi, what happens to us?”

For those familiar with the rich tapestry of Tamil literature, Sasikala was seeking to pull off a sabadham (vow in 
English and shapath in Hindi) of her own. Some sort of a “Maa… teri kasam” moment. The most famous is Kannagi sabadham — the vow of the wife of a merchant who gets wrongly convicted and beheaded by the Pandya king for having stolen the queen’s silambu (anklet). When a raging Kannagi marches into the durbar and proves the king was wrong, the remorseful royal commits suicide. Kannagi curses that the city of such an unjust king be burnt to ashes. And Madurai erupts in flames.


This story forms the crux of the Tamil classic Silpadhikaram (Tale of the Anklet) written by the ascetic prince Ilango Adigal. Kannagi’s statue (right) holding the silambu can be seen on the Marina Beach, less than a kilometre from where 
Jayalalithaa is buried. In Tamil cinema, taking a vow of revenge over a dead body or where a person is buried or in front of a village temple or in front of a deceased relative or lover is common. So, Sasikala’s sabadham could be the next in the series of sabadhams. Or, it could just be an empty threat.

What was Sasikala uttering?
“I take a vow on you Amma that I will be back,” was what former minister B. Valarmathi (extreme left), who was 
standing closest to her, could pick up in the din of slogans.

G.C. SHEKHAR IN CHENNAI
TV footage and PTI picture

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