Much as Sonia Gandhi was the power behind the Manmohan Singh government it is pretty much likely, legally and de facto, that Sasikala can still be in control of the AIADMK. Having gotten rid of former chief minister and a leopard who changed his spots, O. Panneerselvam, she can appoint a tame pussycat and play tiger, which burns bright even from behind the bars.
Even after the verdict one does not see her being locked up for four years and she is sure to seek redress from a larger Supreme Court bench.
That said, currently the most malleable politician in the running, seeing as how OPS still doesn't have the numbers and is iced out from the party, is Edapadi K. Palanisamy — a modest man upon whom greatness might be thrust and he must snuggle in for a long stay.
Though Shakespeare himself would have wept in frustration at the intrigues that pretzel the Tamil Nadu political situation and in recent months give rise to suspicions that between the Centre and this southern state and the apathy of the north, situations have been approached and treated in what can best be called a clumsy and oafish manner.
Start at the top. Why did the governor have to wait for the Supreme Court verdict? Even if there was only a day you cannot second guess justice. She was innocent till proven guilty? What if this verdict was three weeks away or forty days or any other time frame, where and when does the clock start ticking? Governors cannot make decisions predicated to what might happen in court. There is no statute of limitations in the sense that it is okay if there is a decent gap since no one defines the decent gap in days, hours and minutes.
Hence, a case can be made that delaying her swearing-in was a bad decision.
Ever since Jayalalithaa upset the apple cart by falling ill the federal system has seemed to fall about itself in confusion regarding the political equations in this state. All the months she was in hospital there was intrigue, mystery, ignorance, medical silences that defied common sense in that the people were robbed of the right to know about the health of a democratically elected leader.
By this token no one quite knew whether Jayalalitha was taking decisions or to what extent and whether orders were being sent through the prism of a proxy.
Then came the mess over her death and the refusal to say why and how she died with ugly leaks following the funeral of hanky panky and medical malpractice and theories of grand conspiracy being spun.
Even as the state fumbled along with a decisively strong party in the majority, paradoxically, governance lay exhausted on the roadside like battle weary troops.
To add to this there was a sudden surge of piety and an annual sport was inflated into a major war, a contest of wills and jallikuttu went down as less of a bullfight and more a combat between the people of the state and the Centre, all of it orchestrated with a certain foxiness.
Then came the crisis over Sasikala being favoured one for the post of chief minister.
Besides being badmouthed as a handmaiden aspiring to the throne there hasn’t been much to fling at her except a certain contempt that those who live below the stairs should not try to climb them.
Don’t quite know why that is a crime in itself but now the search for a third party should be a purely AIDMK affair with a time limit on it.
The nation has to let Tamil Nadu off the hook. Too much intrigue and skullduggery has happened these past three months including Jayalalitha’s weeks in the hospital. Either let the AIDMK decide by hand vote (aye and nay) Governor Rao and take the foot off Tamil Nadu's throat or dissolve the assembly and take your lumps but end this impasse.
Updated Date: Feb 14, 2017 15:21 PM