ADMK in awry: How the latest trouble for VK Sasikala would put OPS in a setback?

After the Madras High Court revoked Edappadi Palaniswami's (EPS) political elevation as ADMK's interim General Secretary, his rival O Panneerselvam (OPS) had hoped for a comeback and to regain his lost strength and base in the party. Though EPS had the support of a majority of functionaries, the judicial twist against him had poured a huge relief to OPS that he can still wage a judicial fight to defeat EPS. 

In defeating EPS, OPS was moving to renew the ties with VK Sasikala as she has been chalking out her plan to recoup her control in the ADMK. Recently, OPS has publicly divulged that he will meet VK Sasikala to take over the party. While both the leaders are hoping to have support from their community, the latest trouble that Sasikala is facing would put OPS in a setback, again. 

The trouble for Sasikala has come through the final report of the Justice Arumugasamy commission, which probed the circumstances surrounding the death of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The commission, after several extensions, has submitted its report to the Tamil Nadu government and in its report, it has recommended the government inquire and take action against VK Sasikala, the former aide of Jayalalithaa, who knew the entire tenure of hospitalization of the latter. 

After receiving the report from former Justice Arumugasamy, the state cabinet meeting was convened by MK Stalin on Monday during which it was decided to place the report before the Tamil Nadu Assembly and the government said that the matter will be discussed with legal experts. According to an official release, the panel report that went into aspects including the late Chief Minister's hospitalization on September 22, 2016, and the treatment provided to her, was discussed in detail at the cabinet meeting, two days after Justice Arumugasamy submitted it to the Chief Minister. 

It further said, "The cabinet has decided to take the opinion of legal experts on the report recommending ordering government inquiry against VK Sasikala, Sivakumar (Sasikala's relative and a doctor), the then Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and the then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao and take due action, and after doing so, place it before the Tamil Nadu Assembly with a report." The recommendation has shocked Sasikala and her supporters as it has come in the midst of her political aspirations. 

She is strongly looking for the right time to plunge into politics and Arumugasamy Commission's recommendation has come as a deterrence to her political aspirations as she may lose the support of ADMK and its cadres had the enquiry gone against her. As the ADMK cadres see Jayalalithaa as Amma (mother), the commission's recommendation to take action against Sasikala would likely put her to the test to reap the support of the cadres in recouping the control of the party and a setback for her will also affect OPS.

Sources in the OPS faction told IANS that he had done a lot of groundwork for a future alliance with Sasikala and Dhinakaran and has worked overtime to ensure the support of the powerful Thevar community to which they both belonged. Most of the Thevar outfits have issued statements supporting OPS and the need to stamp an alliance with Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, who is leading the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK). 

Several cadres believe that without the support of Sasikala and Dhinakaran, it would be difficult for OPS to take on EPS, who enjoys a comfortable majority of the party's general council members. On the other hand, the EPS faction is quietly watching the rival and his moves to counter the formation of an alliance between OPS and Sasikala. For the cadres, the leadership crisis has put the party awry as with the lack of proper leadership, the party is getting weakened both in the legislature and on the ground.