Sasikala Pushpa-Tiruchi Siva row: A personal relationship gone sour?

On Monday, Sasikala Pushpa, the AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP made an exception to the unwritten rule of her party — make a bowing reverential reference to her leader J Jayalithaa as 'Puratchithalaivi Amma'. What she said in Parliament on Monday during Zero Hour shall be used as a test case on internal functioning of political parties with source based information and leaks pointing to wheels within wheels of this given situation.

Sasikala has now been expelled from her party. Her expulsion, for bringing disrepute to the party, was announced minutes after she made her statement on the floor of the House in Rajya Sabha. But that should make her happy because she remains an MP, though "unattached", till her term ends in April 2020.

An unsung MP from Tamil Nadu till three days back, Sasikala became known to the wider world when she hit the headlines for thrashing an MP, Tiruchi Siva, from rival DMK at security check at IGI airport in New Delhi, because she claimed the MP from the other party had exceeded all limits in criticising Amma and her government. Interestingly, while this incident took place in full public view, neither of them complained to the police. Siva missed that flight, which he was supposed to take with Sasikala for Chennai and took another flight.

 Sasikala Pushpa-Tiruchi Siva row: A personal relationship gone sour?

File image of Sasikala Pushpa. Twitter @ANI_News

Sources said what Sasikala claimed was for public consumption and also as potential defence before her party leader Jayalalithaa. The real story is something else, they suggest.

When the Parliament assembled on Monday, a teary-eyed Sasikala walked in the well to make a plea to speak to Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien. Her request was granted. When she rose to speak, she stunned the House, her party and students of politics with her dramatic revelations — that first, she and Tiruchi Siva had called a truce with both apologising to each other.

Second, she had been summoned, and told in no uncertain terms by her party supremo (Jayalalithaa) to resign from the Rajya Sabha. The consequent pressure to quit on her was immense. But she did not want to resign; she wanted to continue in the Parliament as she intended to "serve the country".

Third, her life was now under threat. She couldn't go to Tamil Nadu, as she felt threatened. She did not really ask for security, but with tears in here eyes and a choked voice, she sought protection from the Chair and the House.

She didn't take any names as to who had threatened her and left it open to anyone's interpretation as to who that person could be. That created a ruckus in the House, with AIADMK strongly protesting against her references, and the Congress coming out in her support with all its might in the House. Samajwadi Party's Naresh Agrawal too supported her.

By the time she was finished with her statement, she was expelled from AIADMK.

Sasikala had dared to speak in a manner that no AIADMK leader or worker would ever imagine to speak in public. In fact, it has by now become an accepted norm in Parliament that every single MP would begin their statement, brief remark or long speech by first paying respects to Jayalalithaa, "Puratchithalaivi Tamil thai Amma... with blessings of, with blessings of our leader, Puratchithalaivi Amma, I want to raise...." and so on.

Sources said that after the airport slapping incident, she was called by Jayalalithaa to hear her side of story. She had perhaps anticipated the reaction from the party boss. After having heard her, the AIADMK chief directed her to resign from the MP position. Sasikala has completed two years of her term and has another four years to go as an MP.

She outsmarted Jayalalithaa by raising the issue in Parliament, ensuring that nothing wrong will happen to her. She has retained her MP position and the following four years will be a long time to make her next political landing. The Congress in any case is on her side for now.

Tiruchi Siva too was summoned by DMK chief K Karunanidhi and asked the actual story. Siva apparently told him that several suggestive pictures and comments were made about them on social media for the last two months. He was then reportedly asked whether he filed any complaint with the police or anywhere else.

The whole episode has turned out to be a juicy story for Tamil media. It is said that the fight between the MPs, of the two bitterly rival parties, was personal in nature. A personal relationship that had gone sour.

A Sudeshi news channel post on Youtube for instance has several pictures of Sasikala and Siva, suggesting a close proximity between the two.

The gossip mill in the power corridors suggest that there was some other angle too. It concerned to some monetary exchange and the other side was now refusing to return the money.

The dramatic narration by Sasikala, as it unfolded in Rajya Sabha and beamed live on news channels, has spiced up politics and given a juicy talking point to the parliamentarians in an otherwise dull political scenario. The last word on this episode has not yet been said.

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Updated Date: Aug 01, 2016 15:52:50 IST