Why Is Modi Stopping Sasikala?

Chennai: What is bothering the NDA government in regard to Tamil Nadu? Why did it advise Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to go back to Mumbai from Delhi instead of proceeding to Chennai to administer oath of office to VK Sasikala Natarajan as chief minister. After all the 136 members of the AIADMK legislature party elected Sasikala as its leader on Sunday, the Governor is duty-bound to make her take the oath. It cannot be delayed according to the convenience of the Centre.

It is true that Sasikala is accused in disproportionate assets case along with Jayalalithaa. The Supreme Court verdict in the case is expected to be delivered in a week. The Centre would like to delay the swearing-in ceremony till the final judgment of the apex court is given hoping that the verdict would go against her. If the court reverses the verdict given earlier by Karnataka High Court, Sasikala would be declared guilty and there would be no need to make her CM. But the legal opinion is against any delay in swearing-in after the election of the leader.

BJP needs the support of the AIADMK which is the second largest party in Lok Sabha after the BJP. AIADMK had won 37 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 elections. It has to take the AIADMK support to get its presidential candidate elected. In view of the likely rout of Akali Dal and BJP in Punjab and the uncertainty in Uttar Pradesh, the importance of the AIADMK numbers would be even more. If the NDA Government goes out of the way to stall Sasikala’s swearing-in and fails to stop her she may become vengeful and join anti- BJP front. Any anti-Centre sentiment would be popular with the people of Tamil Nadu.

There were a number of occasions when persons who were inexperienced or who were not members of parliament or assembly were made prime ministers and chief ministers. Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao as PMs and Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM are examples. The best way forward for the BJP would have been to dump the spineless chief minister, O Panneerselvam, and to usher Sasikala into the office. If the verdict of the apex court goes against her, so be it. She cannot blame Prime Minister Modi or Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Any minister of her choice would replace her. The Centre would not have any quarrel with the incumbent CM or Sasikala who might run the party from jail.

The NDA government which has been caught in Catch-22 situation would do well to rush Governor Rao to Chennai to conduct the swearing-in ceremony. Any dilly-dallying on its part would be foolhardy.

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