From CM to jail for Sasikala

By Vijay Badhwar

From being an aspiring chief minister of Tamil Nadu, heir apparent Sasikala has ended up in a four-year sentence in a Bangaluru jail convicted for amassing disproportionate assets in a case that suddenly came to life after lying three years in slumber. The drama unfolded only after the recent death of AIADMK all powerful chief Jayalalitha who held a cult-like following among the State’s voters.

The party is now in utter chaos after the supremo’s death, her long-term friend Sasikala claiming the rights, even though never ever having been elected to parliament and not even being a AIADMK member having been expelled from the party by Jayalalitha herself in 2011.

If ever there is to be a constitutional amendment in India, this should take priority that forbids unelected people from being handed over positions of power on a platter simply because they are related or friends of political leaders. This loop hole that Lalu Yadav innovated when he made his illiterate wife Rabri Devi (who could not even sign) a chief minister when he was sent to jail must be plugged so that the likes of Sasikala do not make it a precedent.

The acting chief minister Paneerselvam does not have the ticker to rule in his own right although nominated to lead the state earlier by Jaya herself when she went to jail convicted for the same charge of corruption. He rules with the footwear of the deceased leader in chair, a fact exploited by Sasikala who challenged him and, according to him, made him resign from the party.

She claimed support from 117 members, majority of them allegedly locked away in a resort without telephones or Internet so that their true allegiance could not be tested. The state Governor recommended a composite floor test to settle leadership claims.

But it all ended up too quickly for Sasikala: within a day the Supreme Court upheld the earlier conviction and sentenced her to four years jail sentence in Bengaluru. Her pleas to review the judgement were rejected as well as her request for delaying sentence on health grounds. She, however, had the time to appoint her nephew, TTV Dinakaran, who had been expelled from the party by Jayalalitha, as the deputy general secretary of the party. She made him submit a letter of apology for his earlier deeds, quickly made him a member and then the deputy secretary so that she can still manipulate the reigns from inside the prison walls. It is very hard to let go the power and may be future claims to Poes Garden, which experts believe her family will be soon asked to leave.

It seems that the Modi Government is influencing some outcomes to rid the country of corruption as in another case of prison sentence of notorious criminal Shahabuddin, a former Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA from Bihar, he has been asked to be moved to Tihar Jail in Delhi as he continued to operate unhindered in crimes from his luxurious prison abode in Siwan Jail in Bihar.

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