Chennai, Sasikala Natarajan: The close confidante of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and late chief minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa, Sasikala Natarajan was more like a wall of support for Amma, standing behind her through thick and thin times.
During Jayalalithaa's three tenures as Chief Minister, Sasikala is alleged to have wielded absolute power behind the scenes. The demise of Jayalalithaa is seen as a personal loss for Sasikala. In fact, Sasikala was one the few occupants of the CM's Veda Nilayam residence located at the Poes Garden other than assistants and officials.
She remained with Jayalalithaa ever since she was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai and provided her with the emotional support.
She was arrested along with Jayalalithaa as on 7 December 1996 and was remanded to judicial custody for 30 days in connection with the Colour TV scam.However they were acquitted by the Supreme Court as the charges were found to be baseless allegations.
Both were accused in the infamous disproportionate assets case and were convicted by a trial court in Bengaluru, though the Karnataka High court later reversed the lower court order.
Sasikala even went to jail with Amma in TANSI land acquisition case along with Jayalalitha in a trial court to two years rigorous imprisonment and was later relieved by the Madras High Court.
Sasikala was also blamed for the defeat of AIADMK in 1996 elections storming up a controversy. Leaders and politicians blamed Jayalalithaa's defeat on her proximity with Sasikala. Both incidentally, had twice fallen out with Sasikala for alleged anti-party activities a few years ago.
In 2011, Jayalalithaa expelled her long-time close aide Sasikala Natarajan and 13 others from AIADMK.They parted away for a short time span but were quick to patch up. Thereafter, Sasikala was spotted accompanying Amma at various functions including the election campaigns in her special vehicle.
How Sasikala met Jayalalithaa?
Natarajan lost his job in 1976 due to the Indian Emergency. Denied its main source of income, the family was forced to sell or pawn jewels. At this juncture, Natarajan requested V. S. Chandralekha, who was then the District Collector of South Arcot, to introduce his wife Sasikala to Jayalalithaa, who was then the Propaganda Secretary of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Sasikala shooting all the marriages and the functions for Jayalalithaa and gradually then became a very close friend of Jaylalithaa. Sasikala was sentenced along with Jayalalitha in TANSI land acquisition case along with Jayalalitha in a trial court to two years rigorous imprisonment and was later relieved by the Madras High Court.
Today, she is being seen as the next to hold the position of general secretary of AIADMK. It will be quite a sight to see how she takes the party forward or tries to fill the void of Amma that people of Tamil Nadu will feel for a long time.
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