Sasikala Vs Panneerselvam
The battle may not be out in the open, but the under-currents are there for sure. At stake is late J. Jayalalithaa’s mantle. Interestingly, the late leader was both Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary. This post has now been divided between her two successors, but what is worrying Panneerselvam is whether Sasikala will make the CM’s chair as well. According to sources, what is strengthening him is not the AIADMK cadre, but support from the Central government. It suits the BJP to have a dependant Panneerselvam at the helm instead of the untried Sasikala. Last fortnight, when Panneerselvam called on the Prime Minister, he met the media but maintained a stoic silence when questioned about Sasikala’s elevation as general secretary. The Sasikala camp, too, is not very happy about the recent raids on former TN chief secretary Rama Mohan Rao, who was close to both Jayalalithaa and Sasikala. The chief secretary made a telling comment when he muttered that this would not have happened had Jayalalithaa been the CM, thereby indicating that the current CM did not come to his help. So, all eyes are on Sasikala’s next step — will she contest the byelection from RK Nagar (Jaya’s old constituency)? For, she may like to hold the remote control, but she knows all too well that Poes Garden without Jayalalithaa is no 10 Janpath and more important, Panneerselvam is a lot more ambitious than Dr Manmohan Singh.
As the Yadav family continued their public spat by issuing separate candidate lists for the coming Assembly polls, it was interesting–but not surprising–to note one of the omissions from Akhilesh’s list: his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav’s candidature was missing. This despite the fact that Mulayam Singh Yadav had cleared Aparna’s candidature from Lucknow Cantt way back in October itself. Then again, it is Aparna’s mother-in-law and Akhilesh’s step mom Sadhna Yadav who is said to be spurring the anti Akhilesh camp along with Shivpal Yadav. So clearly the chacha-bhatija war also has a step-motherly angle to it. So, was this the last straw that led to his expulsion? There is a strong conspiracy theory doing the rounds that the father-son duo are using Shivpal Yadav (Mulayam’s brother) and Sadhna Yadav’s animosity towards Akhilesh to orchestrate this very public family split as an attempt to distance Akhilesh from the rest of his clan and also shore up his image as a development man, someone who stands apart from the SP goon-brigade. So then, is all this an elaborate image make-over for Akhilesh? And will it work in these elections or is Akhilesh playing for a longer term?
When Salman called Aamir
Both Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have come up with movies depicting the backstory of struggle of Indian female wrestlers. Salman’s movie Sultan was a box office hit grossing over Rs 300 crore, but Aamir’s Dangal seems to be heading for a record of its own, having crossed Rs 100 crore within the first week itself. Last week when Aamir was in the capital promoting his film, both with the media and politicians, he received a phone call from Salman congratulating him on the film’s success. Well, good to see some bonhomie among the Khans!