Tamil Nadu Politics: Sasikala AIADMK’s future, her family a hurdle: All you need to know about ‘Mannargudi’

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December 11, 2016

There is a little doubt left that Sasikala Natarajan, who was the closest aide of late Jayalalithaa, will be the next general secretary of AIADMK.

December 11, 2016

There is a little doubt left that Sasikala Natarajan, who was the closest aide of late Jayalalithaa, will be the next general secretary of AIADMK.

However, Sasikala will not be the only one to be elevated from her current role. It is expected that Sasikala's knit of family and close aides, popularly know as 'Mannargudi', will know hold some key positions in the party.

There is a lot to decode about Chinamma's Mannargudi, here's all you need to know:

  • Sasikala Natrajan, late Jayalalithaa closest aide, has been able to set up her kins in the AIADMK at prominent positions. However, many of her family members, including her husband Natrajan, were not liked by Jayalalithaa and were once banished by the latter. However, Sasikala publically disowned her family, and returned to Jayalalithaa's  "Poes Garden" residence. Eventually, her sister Ilavarasi and nephew Vivek followed her to Poes Garden. In this 2011 incident, Jayalalithaa had ejected 17 members of her family from her home and party.
  • Jayalalithaa never liked Natrajan, Sasikala's husband, and one time PRO in Tamil Nadu state government. While Sasikala always remained loyal to Jayalalithaa, and strongly stood with her in hard times after MGR's death, Natrajan was suspected of working for self-interest. A report in The Indian Express says that soon after MGR's death. Jaya ejected Natarajan, suspecting that he was trying to take over the party. However, Sasikala chose to stay back at Poes Garden.
  • During all these years, as Natarajan was not around, Sasikala's bonding grew with Jayalalithaa, that she didn't only become late CM's top aide, but was also assigned some key responsibilities in the party.
  • AIADMK's cadre is based on four big caste blocs within the party: Thevars, Kongu Vellalar Gounders, Vanniyars and Dalits. Sasikala, O Pannerselvam, and most people in her clan are from Thevar community. There is sense of unhappiness within the party as elevation of two Thevar communirty leaders to the two top positions is being considered as an 'imbalance' of power between the four different communities.
  • Two of Sasikala's 17 kins who were thrown out of party in 2011-12 are expected to be taken back in the party. Dr Venkitesh, who once held the posts of party's youth wing leader, and another nephew, TTV Dinakaran, former MP and treasurer of the party, are likely to push for a stake in the post-Jayalalithaa AIADMK, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

Family business has developed over the years.  The family members now have over 30-odd companies linked to them. The business include companies in architecture, housing, mining, export-import of granite, printing and publishing, transport services, liquor manufacturing sectors. Even an entertainment firm called Jazz Cinemas, which runs a 11-screen multiplex theatre in Chennai.


Courtesy: The Financial Express

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