Who Moved the Paneer?

A Look at TN Politics

Shristi S, III Year B. A. History.

Shristi S, III Year B. A. History.

The death of our beloved former Chief Minister (CM) Jayalalithaa left a void not just in our hearts but also in Tamil Nadu’s political scenario. One would notice that in the absence of a mother, two siblings fought with all their might to dominate the house. Albeit rightfully, the elder and more experienced sibling called the shots, the younger got the last piece of cake. Ottakarathevar Panneerselvam (OPS) was sworn in as the CM of Tamil Nadu on 5 December 2016, after Jayalalithaa’s death, whereas, Sasikala became the General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Now, imagine a shadow coming back to life, walking and talking. A shadow, taking your place in society, while you take the backseat. With Sasikala being elected as the General Secretary of the party, it was speculated whether she would want to control the party and the government from behind the scenes, or would play the role that Jayalalithaa had played i.e. lead from the front. A rather humble OPS, gave way to the shadow to rise from the darkness, and on 5 February 2017, resigned from his position as the CM of Tamil Nadu. This was followed by Sasikala being unanimously elected the leader of the AIADMK legislature party, paving the way for her to become the new Tamil Nadu CM.

On 7 February 2017, OPS was moved by, what he calls, the spirit of the great leader, Jayalalithaa. The latter apparently spoke to OPS when he lay at her grave, meditating, and asked him to stand up for justice. Thus began the journey again, to put the shadow at its right place. It appears that OPS was not turning out to be the docile yes-man everyone made him out to be. Just 20 days after assuming the post of CM, he was asserting his authority in many ways, including blocking the appointment of an IAS officer favoured by Sasikala. OPS was also gaining popularity due to his humble nature and co-operation with the opposition and the Center. He showed decisiveness when he visited the victims of the Vardah cyclone and got a state law to legalise Jallikattu with the Centre’s help. Most probably Sasikala saw these as signs of him growing as a leader.

Sasikala made some brilliant claims to tarnish the poor man’s soul by stating that the loyalist was working with the Opposition and had betrayed Jayalalithaa. OPS also said that he came to know that there was a meeting of the MLAs and that he didn’t have prior information. He also said he would take back his resignation if the people and members of his party wished it.

The ball was in the Governor’s court for several days. Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao had accepted OPS’s resignation but asked him to continue as the caretaker CM. However, with OPS announcing his intention to withdraw his resignation, Governor’s role became more important. The Governor, Chennamani Vidhyasagar Rao, waited for a while before the results of the disproportionate assets case that Sasikala was accused in. After she was convicted, the lion stepped out of his den and roared. The shadow was imprisoned, the man was thrown out and instead came in, Mr. Edappadi Palaniswami, the new CM of Tamil Nadu. In the fight between the optimist and the pessimist, the opportunist drank the glass of water.

[Photograph Source: thezolazone.wordpress.com]

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