On February 5, VK Sasikala - a close aide of the late J Jayalalithaa - was elected the AIADMK’s Legislature Party leader. The move paved the way for her elevation as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, replacing O Panneerselvam. But in last two weeks Tamil Nadu witnessed a severe political crisis after OPS refused to step down (even after he resigned recently) and accused Sasikala of dividing the party.
Here's what you need to know about Chinnamma:
- Sasikala belongs to Mannargudi town of Tamil Nadu. She became friends with Jayalalithaa, then a successful film star and a rising politician, in 1976.
- She owned a video parlour then and began recording Jayalalithaa’s political engagements and speeches. Soon, she started accompanying Jayalalithaa to all social and political events.
- She was one of the few supporters left with Jayalalithaa when the latter was insulted at political mentor and superstar MG Ramachandran’s funeral in 1987. Soon, she moved in with Jayalalithaa to help run her Poes Garden residence. Sasikala’s husband and other relatives followed. Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran soon became Jayalalithaa’s foster son.
- Sudhakaran’s foster son got married in 1996 in a ceremony that saw an extreme display of wealth and opulence, costing Jayalalithaa and her party the Assembly elections the following year. Sasikala was soon arrested in a corruption case and Jayalalithaa maintained her distance. They later patched up.
- In 2011, Sasikala was thrown out by Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence. Reports said she came across a conspiracy that the ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ was plotting a coup against her. Her relatives and loyalists were also expelled from the party.
- The rough patch was short lived and Sasikala returned to Poes Garden, but this time without her husband and relatives
- After Jayalalithaa's demise last year, Sasikala took over as the AIADMK general secretary.
- Sources told CNN-News18 that she could be sworn in as the CM next week.
- Sasikala, who has never held public office, will have six months from her swearing-in to enter the Assembly as an elected MLA.