Not many of the present generation are aware of the man behind the downfall of Jayalalithaa and VK Sasikala. The man in question is none other than Marri Chenna Reddy, the former governor of Tamil Nadu with whom Jayalalithaa had serious differences.
It all started when Marri Chenna Reddy was appointed as the Tamil Nadu Governor in 1993. When Jayalalithaa sworn in as the CM for the first-time in 1991 June, Bhishma Narain Singh was the Governor of the state. But on May 31st, 1993, Marri Chenna Reddy was appointed as the Governor of Tamil Nadu by then PM PV Narasimha Rao. Since then Jayalalithaa had serious differences with Marri and it was never-ending clash.
Given that both Marri & Jaya were the two headstrong personalities, the twain had been on the warpath.
On one-side, Marri was a strong man who had successfully tackled critical problems like separate statehood of Telangana and share great bond with then PM PV Narasimha Rao. Marri had proved himself as successful governor in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Contrary to the normal assumption that role of Governor in federal state is ‘nominal’ and ‘honorary’, Marri Chenna Reddy had proved otherwise by leaving an indelible mark as Governor in both states and was appointed as TN Governor by PM.
On other side, Jayalalithaa too was an iron lady and has great individuality. She was of the opinion that Governor shouldn’t intervene much in the state’s governance. This had led to the great differences.
Jayalalithaa had allegedly taken Marri “lightly” and said to had “insulted” him on many occasions. At one stage, she had skipped Governor’s inaugural speech before Assembly session and this had invited wrath of Reddy.
Reddy too started taking serious note on the allegations of Opposition parties against Jayalalithaa and state government. Usually, governors don’t consider such issues seriously. But Reddy didn’t leave a leaf unturn to trouble then CM Jaya.
At one time, Jaya had went to Delhi and complained to then PM PV Narasimha Rao against Chenna Reddy and sought his removal. But PV didn’t pay heed to Jaya’s request as he is aware of Chenna Reddy’s capabilities. All these have further aggregated the differences between Jaya and Marri.
During this situation, the lavish wedding of Jaya’s foster son Sudhakaran flared up by media, Opposition. Jaya’s disproportionate assets became talking point. Exactly then, Janata Party’s Subramanya Swamy has brought Jaya’s DA assets to governor’s notice and sought his permission to probe into Jaya’s assets. Subramanian Swamy had slapped case against Jaya, her aide Sasikala and others in DA case.
Normally in such cases, Governor’s won’t act fast and won’t give permissions to court to prosecute a Chief Minister. But setting a new precedent in India and for first of its kind, a state Governor has given permission to probe into allegations against sitting Chief Minister. This led to great debate. Jaya had appealed to several courts against Governor and their feud but nothing came in her favour. Courts have started probe.The case has been shifted to Karnataka for impartial probe.
After 20-years-long probe, Jaya and Sasikala were convicted in DA case by Karanataka High Court. Jaya was the first CM to be convicted. She had to resign as CM and went to prison along with Sasikala. During this lean period, Jaya had appointed O. Panneerselvan as the CM. Though she’s back as CM with slight relief, the ongoing case in Supreme Court had been worrying Jayalalithaa.
It’s buzzed that these cases have resulted in ill-health of Jaya who later succumbed on Dec 5, 2017 after 75 days of struggle in Apollo. Jaya’s demise has a lasting impact on AIADMK and it even divided AIADMK as both Sasikala and O. Pannerselvam have been waging swords against each other. With Sasikala now declared as convict by Supreme Court and sent to jail to complete her sentence of 3 years and six months, she stands unfit to contest polls for another 6 years thus blocking Sasikala to contest polls for 10 years. This is seen as “end-of-road” for Sasikala’s political ambitions.
Now that Palaniswamy, Sasikala’s loyalist, became CM of Tamil Nadu and Jaya’s protege OPS was stamped as anti-party man, AIADMK is crippled in the state thus strengthening opposition DMK. This is the story of how a Dravidian party suffered a death blow due to a Telugu man.