Is Sasikala Natarajan the Real Political Heir of J Jayalalithaa?

In order to understand the significance of the above statement, one must initially understand the textbook definition of the word “HEIR”. As per, the word heir has been listed with the following meanings:

  1. A person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of another following the latter’s death.
  2. Common Law: A person who inherits all the property of a deceased person, as by descent, relationship, will, or legal process.
  3. Civil Law: A person who legally succeeds to the place of a deceased person and assumes the rights and obligations of the deceased, as the liabilities for debts or the possessory rights to property.
  4. A person who inherits or is entitled to inherit the rank, title, position, etc., of another.

All the four definitions above have two things in common:

  • The object to be inherited is usually of either monetary or traditional value.
  • There must be a binding legal proof required for one to claim to be the heir of the deceased.

AIADMK Members, ever since the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jaylalithaa aka AMMA, have been clamouring for a strong minded leader. Their appeal is rightfully true; as any organization, especially a Political Party faces the brunt of a leaderless situation. The situation in Tamil Nadu is as such that if AIADMK doesn’t choose a leader soon, their MLAs will be usurped by the main opposition party, the DMK.

Although their claim is genuine, the claim of HEIRSHIP to the position of the state’s Chief Minister is rather hysterical. Neither we are living in a feudal society, nor is the post of Chief Minister a personal property of J Jayalalithaa.

Going by the protocol, Tamil Nadu MLAs had already met on the late night of 5th December, 2016 and democratically elected their next Chief Minister. Early on the morning of 6th December, 2016, at around 1:15 AM, O Paneerselvam was sworn in as the Chief Minister by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao.

Sasikala Natarajan, newly christened “CHINNA AMMA” by AIADMK members, had entered into the life of J Jayalalithaa at around 1983-84. A video graph store owner, she remained in regular contact with J Jaylalithaa; and their relationship blossomed to that of good friends.

In 1987, the death of M G Ramachandran (aka MGR) sent shockwaves across the state. Similar to J Jayalalithaa’s death, the entire state was in a mourning state. One of the most infamous incidents during MGR’s death was the way J Jayalalithaa was shamed at his funeral.

She was pulled down from the caravan and pushed on to the roads by loyalists of MGR. Clearly, they did not want her not to get an automatic HEIRSHIP to the party. These loyalists had, in fact, projected MGR’s legally wedded wife VR Janaki to be the next heir of MGR. Unfortunately they failed miserably. It was after several hard-fought political battles that J Jayalalithaa became the CM of the state in 1991.

In one of her rare interviews to Simi Garewal, Jayalalithaa suggested that MGR never provided a smooth transition or any succession plan for her in AIADMK. It was only the lessons learnt via her struggles which made her the political leader that she was.

History has repeated itself and right now, we are in a similar scenario. There is no binding legal document in possession of Sasikala Natarajan directly announcing her as the political heir to Jayalalithaa. Although Sasikala was one of the few who had stayed with Jayalalithaa through thick and thin; especially after the death of M G Ramachandran in 1987, there has been no vocal announcement from Jayalalithaa to anoint Sasikala as her political heir.

If one remembers the political history of the state correctly, Sasikala had been accused of plotting against Jayalalithaa from 1995-2012. Sasikala had, in fact, forbidden Jayalalithaa from having any personal ties with her blood relatives, her brother and his family.

It was proven that during this time frame, Jayalalithaa was given false medications and her personal cook had been slow poisoning her. What is to be noted here is very few were privileged enough to be granted access to her Poes Garden house. All the appointment of J Jayalalithaa’s personal staffs was done at the behest of Sasikala Natarajan from her ancestral hometown of Mannargudi.

Jayalalithaa packed off Sasikala and her family from Poes Garden for misguiding her, not once, but twice over; once by her own will and once under the advice of Cho Ramasamy (her Political Advisor). She had barred the entire family of Sasikala, except Sasikala herself, from entering the house again. All these relatives of Sasikala who hail from Mannargudi town were termed as the infamous “Mannargudi Mafia” by a certain section belonging to AIADMK.

Fate had played a very cruel joke with Jayalalithaa! Right after her death, the people shedding crocodile tears around her corpse were the same people whom she had earlier banished from her home while she was alive. These were the people who were misusing her name and misguiding her.

Considering the turbulent history, one might ask the AIADMK members who desperately want Sasikala to guide them as an AIADMK General Secretary, this one very important question:

In all these years, why did Jayalalithaa never give an official party post to Sasikala?

Another thing worth noting is that twice during Jayalalithaa’s tenure, it was O Paneerselvam, who became the sit-in Chief Minister for Tamil Nadu while she was away.

So now, coming back to the question: Is Sasikala Natarajan the Political Heir of Jayalalithaa?

Do you think that Sasikala has any sort of moral obligation to be the POLITICAL HEIR of J Jayalalithaa? Rather than giving a conclusive end to this article, I will leave the question open ended for the reader to decide.