What did Sasikala promise to avenge?

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 17, 2017 12:11 hrs
What did Sasikala promise to avenge?

(Image tweeted by @NamanKumar24)

As Sasikala drove to Bangalore to surrender following her conviction disproportionate assets case, she made two stops. One was at the memorial of Jayalalithaa on Marina beach and the other at MGR’s home in Ramapuram. But it was her display of emotion at the memorial that is the subject of much talk, as well as the butt of many-a joke. Thumping her hand on the grave three times and mouthing a prayer or a promise to take revenge on those who have betrayed her, with several supporters in the background shouting slogans, the display reminded one of a scene from a Tamil movie.

According to Vikatan, AIADMK’s tweet following Sasikala’s surrender reveals what she has promised to avenge – Scheming and betrayal. With overwhelming dislike for Sasikala, netizens had their fun with hundreds of memes The News Minute has a collection of some of the most hilarious ones.

B.Kolappan’s article in The Hindu provides a historical context to her action of beating the graving as a means of seeking revenge. Writer Su.Venkatesan is quoted as saying -

Such pledges would take place in graveyards or in the battlefield to avenge the killing of a king or a warrior. In Tamil Nadu, families of warriors would perform the ritual of vaaikkarisi poduthal (filling the mouth of the dead with rice) before they leave for war. It means they are prepared to go to any lengths to fulfil their revenge.

VKSasikala and her family have orchestrated a step by step take-over of the AIADMK after the demise of Jayalalithaa in December last year. From the presence of the family at the funeral to the defiant display of power to ensure that her faction stays in power, the moves have been calculated and well thought out. This, despite the biggest setback - the Supreme Court conviction in disproportionate assets case that will require her to spend four years in jail and disqualify her from standing for elections for ten years.

Sruthisagar Yamunan wrote in The Scroll, that Sasikala, who had spent the night with AIADMK MLAs at the Golden Bay resort, was seething with anger when she heard the verdict. Yamunanan writes –

She told her supporters that the drama since February 5, when she was elected as legislative party leader, has been orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party in active collusion with acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.Sasikala apparently said that come what may, it was important to ensure that Panneerselvam did not get away with what he had done to her and the AIADMK.

Following a quick meeting of the close advisers, Sasikala apparently called all the MLAs just twenty minutes after the judgement and proposed the name of Edapadi Palanisamy to take over her place as legislative party head and eventually as Chief Minister of the state.

It is in this context that her histrionics at the memorial should be seen. Ever since O Panneerselvam, currently the caretaker Chief Minister, who had resigned almost ten days ago, did a complete U turn after his dramatic performance at the same memorial, Sasikala and her faction have launched a scathing attack on him.

The AIADMK even pointed out the OPS was in Jayalalithaa's rival faction after the death of MGR, campaigning for his wife Janaki during the election held in 1989.

As the issue was heating up with more people joining OPS's camp, Sasikala was seen taking on a more aggressive tone. First signs of this appeared during this speech to the MLAs at the party headquarters in Chennai soon after Panneerselvam’s announcement. The News Minute reported

When Amma died, I gave him an opportunity to be CM, because Amma gave him several opportunities,” Sasikala said, in an open display of authority. Repeatedly calling OPS a betrayer, Sasikala said, “For so many days, he did not have any revelations to make. It is only because he is part of the DMK’s conspiracy that he’s saying these things now.” At Poes Garden on February 8th, she made this veiled threat.

When there are so many of you with me, I will not be bogged down by anything. Since we have faith in justice and democracy, we have been patient. But we can be patient only for some time. But after that, we will come together and do what we must..

The next day during a speech to MLAs whom she had rounded up at the Golden Bay Resort in Koovathur, she made these remarks about Panneerselvam, laced with sarcasm.

There is someone called Paneerselvam, you may have forgotten. He is not in our party anymore, but people are comparing him to me. He is always very quiet, and nods his head to whatever you say. People think I will nod my head like him. But I have been next to a lion. Everybody is telling me I am the new little lion. The AIADMK has a new little lion. 

For now, it looks like Sasikala has indeed prevailed. By anointing her nephew TTV Dinakaran as the Deputy General Secretary and with the Governor finally calling Edapadi Palanisamy to form the government, her reign over the party and the government may continue even as she is likely to spend the next few years in jail.

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