A new season of the Game of Thrones in Chennai has opened with the dramatic expulsion of VK Sasikala, the jailed general secretary of AIADMK, and elevation of late Jayalalithaa as ‘eternal general secretary’ of the party, a post that is unheard of in any democratic system. The Tamil Nadu politics, known for its bizarre loyalties and melodrama, is raising the bar to the Shakespearean level with several twists and turns unfolding by the hour. Nemesis may have finally caught up with Sasikala, currently lodged in a Bengaluru prison, but the troubles are far from over for the ruling AIADMK. Her nephew and a key member of the infamous ‘Mannargudi family’ TTV Dhinakaran is waiting in the wings to topple the government. The battle for Amma’s political legacy may well intensify in the days ahead as the Dhinakaran faction, claiming the support of 21 MLAs, has vowed to send the government packing for undermining the ideals of Jayalalithaa by pursuing politics of betrayal. The main opposition DMK has moved the Madras High Court, seeking a floor test against the E Palanisamy-led government. Even after the merger of Palanisamy and O Panneerselvam camps, the combined entity of AIADMK is still in a precarious position and could find the going tough if a trial of strength is held in the Assembly. In the 233-member House, the opposition parties, including the DMK and Dhinakaran faction, claim to enjoy the support of 119 legislators. The crucial meeting of the AIADMK General Council has adopted a resolution to expel Sasikala who was once an all-powerful figure in the party and formalised the merger between EPS and OPS factions.
In the new structure, all powers are vested with the steering committee to be run by Panneerselvam as chief coordinator and Palanisamy as his deputy. With this, the curtains have finally come down on an era dominated by ‘Mannargudi family’. A clear power hierarchy has been laid out to project EPS and OPS as the inheritors of Jayalalithaa’s legacy and ‘Mannargudi family’ as a group of self-serving elements out to damage the party. However, there are fears that political uncertainty will continue in the State at the cost of governance as the Dhinakaran faction, smarting under humiliation, is expected to pitch for a showdown. The first challenge for the ruling camp is to reclaim the party’s ‘Two Leaves’ symbol. The Election Commission had issued an interim order, in March this year, freezing the symbol and also cancelled the byelection to RK Nagar Assembly seat after large-scale irregularities were found days before the voting. Key public issues in the State have already taken a backseat because of prolonged political fights and it is time for the ruling party to turn its attention on governance.