Tamil Nadu: VK Sasikala, also known as Sikala Natrajan, who shadowed the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and one of the most popular figures in Tamil Nadu history, J Jayalalithaa for decades, is all set to become the chief minister of the Southern Indian state. The 60-year old, who remained a mysterious figure, always sitting behind Jayalalithaa, taking care of her and her household, has already been selected as the legislature party chief of the ruling AIADMK.
In the meantime, Panneerselvam, the incumbent chief minister of the state has resigned from his post and his resignation has been accepted by the governor.
The sudden and rather unexpected rise of Sasikala in the Tamil Nadu politics has shocked many people in the state. Stalin, the leader of the opposition in the assembly said that people didn’t elect someone taking care of Jayalalithaa household to run the state. Others too have made similar comments.
But when it comes to AIADMK, there is not even a murmur of dissent and opposition. During the meeting preceding the legislature party or during the legislature party meet, no one opposed her name proposed by Panneerselvam. It seems to have been choreographed in the finest possible manner.
The 60-year old Sasikala comes from a rather humble background. She belongs to Mannargudi town of Tamil Nadu and became a good friend of Jayalalithaa while running a video parlor who was a successful film star and a rising politician in mid seventies.
Initially she began recording Jayalalithaa’s political engagements and speeches. Soon, she started accompanying Jayalalithaa to all social and political events. Her rise was ensured beyong any doubt as she was one of the few supporters left with Jayalalithaa when the latter was insulted at political mentor and superstar MG Ramachandran’s funeral in 1987. Soon, she moved in with Jayalalithaa to help run her Poes Garden residence. Sasikala’s husband and other relatives followed. Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran soon became Jayalalithaa’s foster son.
Sometimes in the first decade of new millennium, it looked like a love, hate relationship for a while. In 2011, Sasikala was thrown out by Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence. Reports said she came across a conspiracy that the ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ was plotting a coup against her. Her relatives and loyalists were also expelled from the party. Nonetheless, the estrangement was not permanent as many of Sasikala detractors thought. The rough patch was short lived and Sasikala returned to Poes Garden, but this time without her husband and relatives. After Jayalalithaa’s demise last year, Sasikala took over as the AIADMK general secretary.
There is no information available anywhere about the educational qualification of Sasikala. However, she has done graduation from somewhere after which she got married to Natarajan.