A few weeks back (On Jan 5th) we had asked 15 questions of Sasikala. Lest our readers conclude that OPS is pure as driven snow, we have a few posers for him too.
Tamil Nadu Politics – a Backgrounder
For decades politics in Tamil Nadu was dominated by film personalities. Starting from E V Ramasamy Naicker, C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa were all from the world of drama and films. The entertainment industry has played a significant role in moulding the political discourse in the State. With the passing away of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016 and DMK chief Karunanidhi getting confined to his king-sized bed at this Gopalapuram palace, there was a feeling that the Kodambakkam culture has come to an end once and for all. Though there were occasional statements (most of the time, flippant) from Kamal Haasan about politics, it was only for the news starved TV channels and they were forgotten like many of his films which too had bombed at the box office. Sad because, Kamal is a great actor. There is one other failed director who fancies his chances as a Politician – at least that is what we can decipher from the verbal diarrhea that Francis Simon (Seeman) vomits.
The Tamil and Telugu potboilers have a definite story pattern.
What is being unfurled in Chennai in the name of politics since February 8, 2017 is nothing but a film script which could match the suspense and complex story line of either a Telugu or Tamil movie. The Tamil and Telugu potboilers have a definite story pattern. The villain, most of the time played by M N Nambiar, will kidnap the good characters, hold them to ransom, demand millions from the relations and kill some of the characters who try to save the hero or heroin from the evil clutches of the villain. By that time the hero or the police would make an appearance and there will be a group fighting with some comic interludes thrown in by either by Nagesh or V K Ramaswamy.
The Present day drama
But in the live political drama being staged at Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden and the chief minister’s official residence at Greenways Road, it is impossible to differentiate who the real villains are while there are no heroes or heroines in the whole plot. What is happening right now are group fights between villains and their sidekicks with an evil character who does not make a public appearance. That is the unique thing about this movie. No one knows who the villain is! Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, younger brother of CPI member and a former MLA Ch Rajeshwara Rao, is in a piquant situation confused over whom to invite.
Sasikala was flanked by party presidium chairman Madhusoodanan and Panneer and it appeared as if they were one big happy family.
It was on last Sunday that Chief minister Panneerselvam was summoned to Veda Nilayam by AIADMK general secretary Sasikala and asked to submit his letter of resignation. His fault? He was doing too good a job as the CM and that had to be nipped in the bud. Panneerselvam, who came out of Veda Nilayam glum faced and went straight to the AIADMK headquarters, announced that he had resigned and proposed the name of Sasikala as chief minister which was accepted unanimously by those present in the party headquarters.
Sasikala drove down to the party headquarters in the silver Toyota Prado car owned by late Jayalalithaa. And accepted the “party directive” to become the chief minister with all its humility. “This Panneerselvam has been forcing me to become the party General Secretary (GS) and chief minister since the day our Amma went to meet her mother Veda Valli. Though I was reluctant to accept any posts, this Panneer, insists that I take over as GS”, a blushing Sasikala told the AIADMK MLAs.
The function which was telecast live by Jaya TV showed the smiling face of Panneerselvam. Sasikala was flanked by party presidium chairman Madhusoodanan and Panneer and it appeared as if they were one big happy family. End of the movie? Not quite…
Governor Rao was away at Mumbai and he accepted the resignation, and asked Panneerselvam to continue as chief minister and not to indulge in any kind of mischief. Monday remained uneventful. Tuesday too remained peaceful till the evening. But by 8.30PM, what the people in Tamil Nadu saw was Panneerselvam making a sudden appearance at Marina Beach where his Amma had been interred near the MGR Memorial. Panneerselvam sat in meditation for almost 50 minutes in front of the tomb of Jayalalithaa. After that he opened up to the world… How he was forced to sign the letter of resignation by Sasikala and her nephews, how he was prevented from going to the Jayalalithaa Memorial and have a meditation so that he could ask the spirit of Jayalalithaa what he should do… And the rest is history. So the girl, is now not happy with the boy? Boy is the villain of the piece?
Well, we don’t know the real villain yet but let us examine some facts.
Not so fast! As soon as Panneer raised the banner of revolt, the audience decided that he should be the hero, not Sasi. She is the villain, evil and guarding all her knights in a star encrusted castle. The script had to be changed, mid-way. The resignation letter, given and accepted by the Governor was no longer valid, Panneer declared. And the audience said yes, it was no longer valid.
But the Governor is helpless, because once a resignation letter has been accepted, it cannot be taken back! So now the audience sees Governor as the villain. Are you the reader tearing your hair in frustration? Well, we don’t know the real villain yet but let us examine some facts.
Back to Reality
There are some questions the Chennai media failed to ask Panneerselvam at the Jayalalithaa Memorial and these must be asked:
Why did Panneerselvam sign his letter of resignation when threatened by Sasikala and her nephews? Hasn’t he taken the oath of office with the assurance to the world that he would not do anything under force, pressure, coercion and threats?
If Jayalalithaa had told him before her passing away that Madhusoodanan should be selected as the general secretary of the party, why did Panneerselvam not disclose this to the outside world for more than 60 days?
Why did he propose instead the name of Sasikala as the GS in the general council meeting of the AIADMK which was convened on December 29 at Chennai?
Why did Panneerselvam accompanied by Madhusoodanan and Thambi Durai go to Poes Garden, submit the letter to Chinnamma electing her as the GS and plead with folded hands to accept the decision and lead them?
Why did he keep quiet from September 22, 2016 till February 7, 2017 about the news that he was not allowed to meet Jayalalithaa even once and that he could see only her dead body? If he did not see her, how did she express the wish that Madhusoodanan be made the General Secretary? Telepathy?
Though he got a number of opportunities to meet the Prime Minister of India, who had offered him any help in case of any emergencies, why did he keep silent about the goings on in Veda Nilayam and at Apollo Hospital?
Is the revolt because he was told by the Sasikala camp that he would not be inducted into the council of ministers and therefore he has nothing to lose?
By playing dumb during the “hospitalization” phase, isn’t he also responsible for the death of Jayalalithaa?
Wasn’t it possible for him to instruct C R Saraswathi, the new spokesperson who has been pontificating to the outside world from the hospital gates that Jayalalithaa was fine, healthy and happy to keep quiet? For almost six weeks there was nothing but un-truths that came out.
Panneerselvam was aware of the ouster of Sasikala and all other Mannargudi limpets from Veda Nilayam in December 11, 2011. Didn’t he have a copy of the public apology tendered by Sasikala in March 2012 renouncing all worldly pleasures and dedicating her life at the service of Amma? Why did he not announce it in the general council meeting held on December 29, 2016?
At the Marina Beach on February 7, 2017 he said that he was unaware of the legislature party meeting convened at the party headquarters on February 5, 2017 while the whole Tamil Nadu was aware of the move to remove you from the chief minister’s post. Does he not read newspapers or watch TV?
Panneerselvam, was sworn in at 0100 hrs on December 6, 2016. Why did he keep quiet for more than 70 days about the need to have a judicial or CBI probe into the factors which led to the death of Jayalalithaa?
Why did you keep quiet for more than 70 days to announce the conversion of Veda Nilayam as a memorial for Jayalalithaa?
We are looking for answers for these questions which the Tamil Nadu media would never ask you, Mr. Panneerselvam. Because they are dependent on the advertisement churned out by the Tamil Nadu government for survival. But the people of Tamil Nadu deserve honest answers. If you are so sure that you are pure as the driven snow, request the Governor to dissolve the assembly and call for new elections. Create your own party All India Amma Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIAADMK) and ask the people for a mandate. Let them decide who is fit to rule their state.