She may not be CM but Amma reigns supreme in TN

She may not be CM but Amma reigns supreme in TN

Even as the clock is ticking for delivery of judgement on her disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court, AIADMK General Secretary and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha continues to remain the undisputed queen of the party, weeding out elements which have brought disrepute to the organisation. The “People’s Chief Minister” calls the shots in the corridors of power at Fort St George although her loyal protégé M Panneerselvam holds the fort on her behalf.

As her popularity in the state is still high, many political parties including the BJP and the Congress are evincing interest in joining hands with the AIADMK irrespective of the verdict. Even political analysts and some surveys clearly suggest that sympathy for Jayalalitha will be more if the verdict goes against her.

The Supreme Court has granted conditional bail to Jayalalitha and asked her to remain within the confines of her home as the bail has been granted after keeping in view her health and old age.

Though she is confining herself to her Poes Garden residence, Jayalalitha has already got into action to engage herself not only in her party affairs but also to take over full control of the government, remotely after she got bail from a Bengaluru court.

That Tamil Nadu is being ruled by proxy is a fact endorsed by almost every political party leader with Panneerselvam giving credence to this theory by his actions and words which are measured and cautious as to not upset the delicate balance of power which, for all practical purpose, rests at Veda Nilayam, the abode of Jayalalitha. It is quite evident when her party MLAs, ministers and even Panneerselvam kept on chanting that they are all working under the guidance of “Amma” – Jayalalitha is fondly called so by party cadres.

While the court cannot prevent Jayalalitha from engaging herself in her party affairs, the AIADMK supremo has started reshuffling various party posts even at the zonal level keeping her eye on the state assembly elections scheduled for 2016. She recently made the CM sack minister Agri S S Krishnamoorthy for allegedly torturing an official in his department over an appointment issue.

Jayalalitha also restructured the party governing bodies in all 12 city corporations and made changes in several districts. In the first phase, select unions have been divided into two in many districts. “My public life is similar to swimming in a river of fire. I have encountered several hurdles in my political life and I am not worried about anything in this path,” she said recently. “This party revamp is not only for facing elections but also to ensure giving opportunity to the deserving cadres at various levels,” a senior AIADMK leader said seeking anonymity.

Another alleged criticism by Jayalalitha’s detractors is that she is ‘guiding’ the state budget even while she is a convicted person. The Opposition, including DMK president M Karunanidhi has said that Panneerselvam has violated oath of secrecy on the issue.
But the cool Paneerselvam has said, “We will toil and march in the direction shown by her (Jayalalitha) and the day will not be far away to see our leader ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’ again in this august House as our beloved chief minister to lead us and the state with greater force and dedication to the pinnacle of fame”.

He added, “Though state finances are under stress, our government will continue to give more thrust to the implementation of welfare schemes for the benefit of the poor and the downtrodden as the government draws its inspiration from a great person like Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (as Jayalalitha is known among her party workers).”

Supports Land Bill

Interestingly, Jayalalitha, who earlier opposed the Land Bill, asked her MPs to support the bill, proposed by the BJP-led NDA government, in Parliament. Days after the Land Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, DMK chief Karunanidhi had alleged that the AIADMK’s “sudden support” to it had an ulterior motive. A confident Jayalalitha asserted that her party supported the bill as it vests more power in states in matters such as granting exemptions unlike the previous version.

Political parties, including the DMK and the NDA ally PMK, have questioned the propriety of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in meeting Jayalalitha at a time when her appeal against her conviction is pending. BJP’s state unit later said it was only to seek her party’s support in Rajya Sabha for passage of crucial bills.

The AIADMK cadres also ensured the presence of the “Amma” posters and banners right from her Poes Residence to other parts of the city and districts. Even the “presence” of Jayalalitha in the form of her portraits adorning all state government floats at the Republic Day parade in Chennai created a controversy. Opposition parties are condemning it.

Tableaux, which did not have her portrait, were the ones from the Central government departments and the armed forces. In all State government departments’ websites and even in the State secretariat complex, Jayalalitha’s photos are prominent.Meanwhile, intensifying the divine interventions to the release of Jayalalitha in the case, Sudharsana Yagam, Chandi Maha Yagam, Maha Rudra Yagam, Saha Chandhi Yagam, varieties of “homams”, spiritual processions with woman functionaries carrying milk pots, partymen tonsuring their heads, pulling golden chariots of temples, were among the variety of special prayers launched by the AIADMK workers at temples in Tamil Nadu.
So, come what may, it’s the “Amma” way in Tamil Nadu.

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