Tamil Nadu's Chinnamma and the Mannargudi family are finding themselves in a very unpleasant situation where not only are they losing their clutch on the AIADMK, but legal tangles have overpowered their hunger for money.
The question today -- is the Mannargudi family down and out? If political analysts are to be believed there may still be a chance for them to keep the power that they have always been hungry for. Even the political parties such as the DMK and the BJP in Tamil Nadu are not ready to accept that the Mannargudi family has lost its power.
Will this merger mean that the Mannargudi family has been decimated?
"We will have to wait and watch, we can't say anything now," said Tamilisai Soundarajan of the Tamil Nadu BJP.
SASIKALA TRIED VERY HARD TO STEP INTO AMMA'S SHOES
Chinnamma as Sasikala is popularly called has tried very hard to step into Amma's shoes but the infighting in the family caused a major split exposing the cracks in the Mannargudi team.
Sasikala has always wielded power in the state of Tamil Nadu even during Jayalalithaa's time through her relatives. And after the death of Jayalalithaa, her extended family was brought under one roof to try and claw her way to the top in the AIADMK party ladder.
Her quick rise as the general secretary, appointment of her nephew TTV Dhinakaran as the deputy general secretary and selecting Edappadi Palanisamy as the CM candidate, Chinnamma had ensured that she had sufficient control even though she was jailed in the Parappana Agrahara jail.
MERGER TALKS WEAKENED THE POWER OF MANNARGUDI MAFIA
The recent talks of a merger of the OPS and EPS camps have weakened the power of the Mannargudi mafia.
''We began this dharm yudh with two conditions. A judicial probe into Amma's death and removing Sasikala's family. They claim to have removed Sasikala's family, but they have to take back the affidavit submitted to EC calling Sasikala as GS and TTV as DGS," said K P Munusamy of the OPS camp.
The writing was on the wall when Edappadi Palanisamy began stonewalling TTV Dhinakaran's demands to hold an inquiry against O Panneerselvam. Later certain recommendations that were made by VK Sasikala on postings and transferred were overruled. But, interestingly many feel that the entire drama that has panned out since April 16 has been the brainchild of none other than TTV Dhinakaran himself.
'Now, they want to save the govt with numbers. Dinakaran may be scheming this, but this won't last long. This group does not have the people's mandate. They are running the show under Jaya's name. They should get a fresh mandate. When people start fighting for power it ends up in damage," said TKS Elangovan of the DMK.
TEAM V K SASIKALA MEMBERS' SWITCHED SIDES
But those who were with team V K Sasikala also seem to have switched sides.
"I do not want to comment on what is happening in Dinakaran's mind. I joined the party for Amma. It is a cadre-based party. Whatever happens, his cards won't last long," said Apsara Reddy, the AIADMK spokesperson.
Sources say that the Mannargudi family has realised that they cannot occupy the seats of governance as they have too many legal cases against them, but they would be able to wield power through the proxies in the govt. It's not easy to get rid of the Sasikala and Mannargudi clout as they have penetrated into almost every layer of the government in the last few decades.
TOO EARLY TO WRITE OFF SASIKALA
Senior journalist of the Lede, Sandhya Ravishankar says, "It is too early to write Sasikala and her family off. The AIADMK has always been a party led by a single leader in an almost dictatorial fashion. First, MGR and then Jayalalithaa. I do not see the party evolving into a consensus based leadership. There are and will be pushes and pulls within. Ultimately for the next four years, power will be their only glue."
O Panneerselvam may have vowed to free Tamil Nadu from the Mannargudi family, but that would be a far cry as her involvement in Jayalalithaa's political career and governance has ensured that she will always find a favourable spoke in the wheel of fortune.