Chinnamma As CM: Is It The Quiet Before A Storm?

Posted by Megha Sreeram in Politics
February 6, 2017

Yesterday (February 5th, 2017) will go down in the annals of Tamil Nadu’s political history. A lady with absolutely no experience of even competing in any election was unanimously handed over the reins of ruling a state.

It has been decided in the ruling party’s MLA meeting that Sasikala Natarajan would be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, whose incumbent passed away in December last year. While this has sent waves of disgust and indignance through the state, it was not sudden. Nor was it something that was accomplished through stealth mode.

Sasikala Natarajan, popularly known as “Chinnamma”, was Jayalalithaa’s close aide for over 30 years. She used to run a CD shop when she was introduced to Selvi Jayalalithaa years ago. Since then there has been no turning back for her, till may be recently. She and her family members, who were popularly known as the “Mannargudi Mafia”, were expelled from Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa since it was said that Jayalalithaa was unhappy with the actions of Sasikala’s family.

Later on, though it is said that they reconciled, it was evident to the public that the CM was keeping a safe distance from her friend, at least in public view. It is safe to say that Sasikala had always been in the shadow of Jayalalithaa.

Let bygones be bygones. Now that the expected thing is underway, let us pray that Tamil Nadu does not slide down the path of tyranny and chaos. For a group known for its illegal land amassing techniques and other activities, it is expected that law and order is about to spiral downwards. Additionally, a caste based dominance is anticipated in the southern territories of the state.

Sasikala has corruption cases against her, pending in courts of law, having the potential to hamper her scamper to the top post making her life a living hell. This could be a kill joy for her ambitions.

The public opinion seems strongly against her, with meme creators working on 24 hour shift since the announcement was made officially. Within minutes #RIPTN and #TNSaysNoToSasikala began trending on Twitter. There could even be a mass uprising by the people, just like the Jallikkattu issue, but honestly speaking, that would set a wrong precedent. The only thing what the people of Tamil Nadu can do right now is to have an excellent memory and not re-elect her. But as they say, people’s memory is short and there is a high chance that she would be elected to the Assembly in the forthcoming elections.

This opportunity could be the best opportunity for the opposition to snatch away the victory which eluded them in the previous elections by a meager margin.  This could even be used by the erstwhile parties with a minor vote share to stomp their dominance and slowly work their way up.

She could be an able administrator, who could even be a worthy replacement for some pretty large shoes out there.  All of this remains to be seen. But, as of now, her first test is to get herself elected to the legislative assembly of the state and be legally eligible to be the Chief Minister.