Real OPS Stands Up, Sasikala Stands Exposed!
Chennai: Panneerselvam has come into his own, thanks to the aggressive stance adopted by Sasikala Natarajan to wrest power from him.
The world outside Tamil Nadu knows O Panneerselvam (OPS) only as a spineless politician genuflecting before the supreme leader J Jayalalithaa. However, post-Jayalalithaa politics have given him an opportunity to exhibit skills in political management and survive a powerful push from Sasikala camp.
After Governor C Vidyasagar Rao decided to wait for the verdict of the apex court, OPS became bold and decided to revolt. He made some deft moves and attacked Sasikala without mincing word. He accused her of not allowing him to see the ailing chief minister at the hospital. He also ordered a judicial enquiry into the death of the leader. The Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa was sought to be converted into a memorial.
OPS is one of the few clean politicians in Tamil Nadu. He had proved his administrative acumen when he was presented with opportunities to discharge duties as chief minister twice when Jayalalithaa had to vacate the seat due to adverse judicial verdict and once when he was sworn-in after the demise of the leader.
Sasikala, on the other hand, has gained the notoriety of being a manipulator, corrupt, unscrupulous and head of Mannargudi Mafia. The outpouring of public support for OPS and anger at Sasikala explains the popular sentiment prevailing in Tamil Nadu. The spontaneous endorsement by the people in the streets of OPS as a good politician and able administrator goes to show that the people observe the politicians closely and form their opinions.
Since her going to jail is certain, Sasikala told her MLAs at the resort that they should be united in fighting to protect the party from OPS who is accused of being hand-in-glove with the BJP and the DMK. Sasikala and two others were pronounced guilty and were asked to surrender before the special court in Bengaluru. She has very little time to set things right although she has premonition of the negative verdict.
The judiciary has its own part in the game. Though the SC judges have to be complimented for upholding the judgment of the trial court, why did they take so long to do it? What about the judges at Karnataka High Court who gave undue importance to a mathematical or accounting error and decided to set aside the trial court judgment? Can the apex court pass structures on the HC in wake of its unacceptable decision? Why did the judiciary take 21 long years to decide in the case of DA? Does it not speak volumes about the damage being done to democratic fabric due the undue delay in judicial decisions.
In the entire game, the people of Tamil Nadu were reduced to the role of spectators while events have been overtaking them. They remained helpless though they displayed a fine sense of justice when they solidly stood by OPS. The resolve the people showed in Jallikattu movement was visible in this instance too.
Although the attitude of Governor Rao has been vindicated by the SC verdict, he cannot escape the blame that he did not play his constitutional role properly. That he was doing the bidding of the NDA government cannot be disputed. He should have administered the oath to Sasikala after she was duly elected as the leader of the legislature party by the AIADMK MLAs. It would not changed the nature of the decision by the apex court. At the time of the SC decision Sasikala enjoys the support of 124 MLAs and only 11 MLAs are on the side of OPS. The intervention and involvement in this episode by the Centre, though repeatedly and routinely denied by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, does not do any good for democracy in the country. There is nothing in the present developments for the BJP to be proud of.