It is common knowledge that Sasikala Natarajan had taken control of the AIADMK party within a few years of her introduction to the former AIADMK chief, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa, affectionately called as ‘Amma’ (meaning mother in Tamil) or ‘Puratshi Thalaivi’ (meaning revolutionary leader in Tamil). But the real question is, how did an unknown and insignificant person like Sasikala become the soul mate and political advisor of Tamil Nadu’s ex – CM Dr. J. Jayalalithaa? Will Sasikala play any further role in the future of the AIADMK political party? Sasikala Natarajan became so popular after her introduction to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa that she is nick named as ‘Chinna Amma’ (meaning mother’s younger sister in Tamil) by the AIADMK party men and by the people of Tamil Nadu. Read more on Jayalalithaa.
The beginning of the relationship between Sasikala Natarajan and Dr. J. Jayalalithaa dates back to the early 1980s. Sasikala was born in a poor family, living in a small town called Thiruthuraipoondi, 28 kms away from the famous town of ‘Mannargudi’ in the Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu. Her family, ironically, were sympathizers of the DMK party, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s and AIADMK’s political opposition party in Tamil Nadu. Today the town of Mannargudi is famous as Sasikala Natarajan’s home town, though Sasikala was not born there. Sasikala’s grandfather, V. Chandrasekharan ran a medical shop in the town of Thiruthuraipoondi. His son Vivekanandan then took over the medical shop and was a great supporter of the DMK political party. Vivekanandan’s elder son Sundaravadanam initially worked for the SBI and was transferred to Mannargudi in the 1950’s. He built a house in Mannargudi and transferred his siblings there to help them get better education. Sasikala was the fifth among his siblings. Sasikala grew up to be a beautiful teenager and youth.
Shortly after, Sundaravadanam was caught for diverting funds meant for the welfare schemes for the poor, to his mother’s bank account. He was shunted out of Mannargudi following this. In 1974, a DMK party worker and youth, wanted to marry Sasikala. His name is Natarajan. Sundaravadanam objected because Natarajan could give Sasikala only a temporary government job. However, Natarajan spoke to Sasikala’s father, Vivekanandan, about their marriage and he gave permission for their marriage. Ironically, Sasikala was blessed at her wedding by the DMK chief, MK Karunanidhi, who was impressed by Natarajan’s oratory. No one could have foreseen at Sasikala’s wedding, that she would become the soul mate and political advisor of the DMK chief, MK Karunanidhi’s, arch political rival, J. Jayalalithaa!
During the National Emergency, Natarajan, was sacked from his job (as DMK’s party worker). He took the issue of his sacking to the courts in Tamil Nadu. Sasikala had to sell her ornaments to pay Natarajan’s lawyers. Sasikala lived a hard life after that. She opened a video rental shop in Chennai to make ends meet. She later learned to operate a video camera and would shoot at people’s weddings and social functions for a fee. Around this time, there was a woman called V. Chandralekha who was the district collector of the Arcot district in Tamil Nadu. Dr. J. Jayalalithaa was also a prominent political figure in the AIADMK political party by this time. Sasikala’s husband Natarajan, knew Chandralekha personally and requested her to get permission from Dr. J. Jayalalithaa for Sasikala to shoot at her social functions. Permission was granted! Sasikala impressed Dr. J. Jayalalithaa with her skills as a cameraperson. Chandralekha remembered Sasikala as being shrewd, hard – working and determined. She certainly was.
In 1987, when the then AIADMK head MGR passed away, there was a big power struggle within the AIADMK political party. Dr. J. Jayalalithaa was harassed and isolated by the then acting chief minister, RM Veerappan. Sasikala’s husband, Natarajan, helped Dr. J. Jayalalithaa overcome RM Veerappan and become the leader of the AIADMK political party using his tactics, influence and experience in politics. Sasikala also provided Dr. J. Jayalalithaa with emotional and managerial support during this time. This enabled her to move close to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa and finally into her residence, the Poes Garden, in 1989. Sasikala had become Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s soul mate, house keeper and political advisor from then on. Sasikala slowly but surely replaced Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s independent servants at Poes Garden, with her own family members, who are nicknamed the ‘Mannargudi Mafias’. Sasikala was a powerful but unelected power center. Sasikala became so close to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa that she got into judicial and political trouble for spending lavishly on Sasikala’s nephew’s wedding in 1995. AIADMK was voted out of power in the 1996 assembly election in Tamil Nadu owing to this reason.
In 2011, when the AIADMK swept the assembly election, good times were back for Sasikala and the Mannargudi Mafias. Sasikala convinced Dr. J. Jayalalithaa to make her family members as the MLAs representing most of the districts of Tamil Nadu. Initially, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa had instructed her party workers to approach Sasikala (Chinna Amma) if they wanted to bring up any political or state issues to her notice. Sasikala cunningly grabbed this opportunity. She filtered what information reached Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s ears. At one point of time, the AIADMK party workers started discussing political and state issues with Sasikala! She at one point of time, even forged Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s sign on documents relating to the then proposed Monorail project in Chennai. Sasikala made a Malaysian company win the contract for the project, while Dr. J. Jayalalithaa preferred a Singaporean company. When this issue came to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s notice, Sasikala denied any involvement! Sasikala also held, what she thought was a private meeting, between her family members in Bangalore, to discuss how the Cauvery row would put political pressure on Dr. J. Jayalalithaa and force her to resign and hand over the charge of the AIADMK political party to Sasikala. Luckily for Dr. J. Jayalalithaa, the DGP of Karnataka (Bangalore) alarmed the DGP of Tamil Nadu (Chennai) about this development and Sasikala’s meeting was taped! Upon hearing the conspiracies, plotted by Sasikala and her family, against her, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa sacked Sasikala’s family members from the posts of MLAs and removed Sasikala and her family members (40 in number) from her residence, the Poes Garden in 2014.
The Mannargudi Mafias are on the run now fleeing from criminal and corruption charges against them. They were involved in land – grabbing and money laundering issues. They had diverted the funds meant for the welfare schemes to their personal bank accounts. This way Sasikala and her family have made Rs. 5000 crores of black money! At one point of time, when Dr. J. Jayalalithaa was not well in her residence, Sasikala had appointed a nurse to administer sleeping pills, which contained small quantities of poison to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa. This, the doctors and people of Tamil Nadu believe had caused infections to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa and ultimately led to her demise on 5th December, 2016. Despite being ousted by Dr. J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her family are still keen to take control of the AIADMK party and Tamil Nadu. They may use their enormous amount of black money to crate obstacles to Tamil Nadu’s CM, O. Panneerselvam and may force him to step down. It is also rumored that Sasikala may inherit Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden house. To conclude I would say that O. Panneerselvam’s political career will be anything but smooth, since Sasikala also has the support of the DMK party, owing to her husband’s relationship with MK Karunanidhi, the DMK chief. Read more on Startup News