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'Forces in Delhi are manipulating a bloodless coup'

Last updated on: February 08, 2017 11:39 IST

'One thing is clear from what happened last night; both sides are being manipulated by the same party with a lot of wrong inputs.'
'I see a hand in Delhi doing the puppet act on both sides.'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoles Sasikala Natarajan as her husband M Natarajan looks on

When Shobha Warrier spoke to M G Devasahayam on Tuesday morning, the former IAS officer spoke about the "double and triple" games played by the Centre.

By Tuesday evening, the political scenario in Tamil Nadu had changed with the ever faithful and compliant O Paneerselvam revolting against Sasikala Natarajan.

This is what Devasahayam said on Wednesday morning. You can read Tuesday's interview below what he said today.

Yesterday you said Delhi was playing a double and triple game. Do you see Delhi's hand in Paneerselvam revolting against Sasikala?

One thing is clear from what happened last night; that both sides are being manipulated by the same party with a lot of wrong inputs, and I suspect Delhi's hands in this.

They are creating a situation in which they can bring about President's rule.

There was suspicion earlier, but this gives a clear indication that Delhi is behind all this.

The raid at Sekhar Reddy's house was pre-determined.

With a single stroke, they had brought in all three groups under the control of Delhi.

Reddy was close to former chief secretary Ram Mohan Rao who was working closely with Sasikala.

Paneerselvam's brother was a partner with Sekhar Reddy.

So, with one stroke, all of them are under the grip of Delhi.

Otherwise, it is quite unnatural for an unelected person with a case pending in the Supreme Court to suddenly stake a claim to become the chief minister.

Obviously, they were told not to worry. They fell for the promise and staked a claim.

You said that they would not be able to live without power...

True. This feeling was exploited by Delhi.

In the case of OPS, they had already been manipulating him and he was under their grip.

Yesterday's drama was advised by someone there.

So, I see a hand in Delhi doing the puppet act on both sides.

The latest news we hear is that OPS has the support of some 23 MLAs and with outside support from the DMK and the Congress, he would stake a claim.

This will not be possible because of the anti-defection law. You need the support of one third of the MLAs.

So, I have the feeling that the forces in Delhi are manipulating a bloodless coup.

They will bring in such a situation that nobody will have the majority in the state and President's rule would be imposed.

OPS garnered a lot of support from the people of Tamil Nadu by his revolt against Sasikala.

Yes, there is a lot of sympathy for him and the very fact that he has revolted against Sasikala has brought in a lot of support for him.

But this will be temporary. That's what the manipulators want.

They are creating a situation where the public may not be averse to President's rule.

As they cannot enter through the front door, they are trying to enter through the back door.

You described OPS as a vassal yesterday, now he has become a hero.

He must have done all that, but I don't think he did it on his own volition.

He was tutored to do that.

The suspicion I had about the games played by Delhi is getting confirmed now.

Do you expect Paneerselvam to rule Tamil Nadu under the BJP's watch?

Yes, absolutely.

It need not be Paneerselvam also.

They have no problem doing the same with Sasikala too.

My theory is they are manipulating both.

You mean, whether it is OPS or Sasikala or President's rule, it is advantage BJP?

Yes. In the case of President's rule, they have to hold elections after six months. Then the DMK will definitely be elected to power.

I won't be surprised if the BJP plays a game with the DMK too.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoles Sasikala Natarajan, December 6, 2016, as her controversial husband M Natarajan looks on.


'The BJP is playing not just a double, but a triple game!'
'They are creating a feeling that they are pro-Panneerselvam, at the same time, they are pro-Sasikala also.'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraces Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam as J Jayalalithaa lies in state as Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, left, and V K Sasikala look on, December 6, 2016.

When Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier interviewed former IAS officer M G Devasahayam, just after J Jayalalithaa's death, he had said, "I see the queen bee kind of syndrome. When they know that there is a queen bee, the bees will hang around her for some time and then fly away. In this case, I won't be surprised if somebody else takes the place of the queen bee. They know if they wither away, they will lose politically and administratively. The bees themselves create a new queen bee for their own survival! That is the culture of the party."

With V K Sasikala's ascent, that is exactly what is happening in Tamil Nadu.

Devasahayam discusses the political developments with Shobha. This interview was conducted before Tuesday night's developments when outgoing chief minister O Panneerselvam declared that he had been forced to resign.

Did you expect this kind of swift action from Sasikala to capture power?

I did, because these people cannot survive without power.

You mean Sasikala's family?

Yes. They are into all kinds of businesses. From liquor to real estate to construction to mining.

They became notorious during Jayalalithaa's first tenure through land grabbing.

During her second tenure she put some reins on them.

They supply 50% of the state liquor. In 2002, the government-owned Tasmac started retail only to cater to them.

Together, both the AIADMK and DMK supply 100% of Tasmac liquor.

To carry on all these activities, they need power.

Who is behind all the planning of Sasikala anointing herself as AIADMK general secretary and now to-be chief minister?

This is all pre-planned.

Everything appears to be a very well planned activity.

All the while, this lady had been planning.

Except for a couple of seats that were given by Jayalalithaa's intervention, almost all the tickets were distributed by Sasikala.

So, she has a committed group of MLAs and MPs.

Everybody suspects the BJP's hand in what is going on. Do you feel so?

I feel the BJP is playing not just double, but a triple game!

They are hunting with the hounds and running with the hares.

They are creating a feeling that they are pro-Panneerselvam, at the same time, they are pro-Sasikala also.

Everybody is playing games. Even the governor is playing a game.

Paneerselvam was made the CM and he was made to flop badly at the jallikattu agitation so that he could be projected as a total failure as chief minister and the lady can take over.

For an issue like jallikattu, so many people came out and protested in the open, but when democracy is being murdered, everybody remains silent spectators. Why?

There was no democracy in Tamil Nadu.

The AIADMK was never a political party; it was just a cinema crazy crowd.

(Former chief minister K) Kamaraj described the AIADMK correctly as Koothadi Kumbal way back in the 1970s.

They were non-entities held together by a charismatic, good looking, fair skinned man (M G Ramachandran) first, and then by a pretty looking, fair skinned, woman (Jayalalithaa).

But this woman (Sasikala) is not in that league.

Last time, I spoke about the queen bee syndrome, and that's exactly what we are seeing now.

Paneerselvam cannot be a queen bee.

It is said that the party cadres are unhappy with the events...

There is no cadre in this party. Cadre is a myth. In my view, all are paid employees.

One positive thing I am seeing is this is the beginning of the end of this so-called party.

I am not sure now about the deviant game the Delhi fellows are playing, but it will come out in the open within a week or 10 days.

One thing is clear, making Sasikala the party general secretary and the legislature leader is not binding on the governor.

Article 163 gives discretionary powers to the governor.

Normally he should act by the advice given by the council of ministers.

But in this case, the governor can ignore stating public revulsion and wait for the Supreme Court verdict (in the disproprtionate assets case).

The AIADMK won only 30% of the total votes; 70% of the population did not vote for the party (in the 2016 assembly election).

Even among the 30%, there are people opposing.

So you can say 80% of the Tamil Nadu electorate is opposing.

The governor can use his discretionary power citing this.

That's why he went to Delhi and from there to Mumbai while the preparation for the swearing-in was done here.

Do you think the governor can wait till the Supreme Court verdict is out?

Yes, he can.

After accepting Paneerselvam's resignation, he has asked him to continue till alternate arrangements are made.

There is no timeline. It is a very tricky situation.

Can the Centre impose President's Rule?

No. This doesn't give any cause for President's Rule.

After the (S R) Bommai judgment (external link), it is not easy at all to impose President's Rule.

But my reading of the Constitution is that the governor can use discretionary power. That's what P Chidambaram also said yesterday (February 6).

There can be three options from the Supreme Court judgment.

One is the dismissal of the appeal by (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary K ) Anbazhagan and the Karnataka government against the Karnataka high court judgment.

The passing away of Jayalalithaa, the principal accused, can be used to dismiss the appeal and acquitting Sasikala on technical grounds as she is only a co-accused.

The second option is accept the appeal and quash the high court judgment.

That means Sasikala goes to jail and will be disqualified to contest elections for six years.

Third is the Supreme Court remanding the case back to the Karnataka high court to rectify the verdict.

If this order is passed, the order by Justice Kumaraswamy acquitting Jayalalithaa and co will be nullified.

Then, Sasikala and co need not go to jail as there is a bail order that still continues.

But the disqualification to contest (elections) kicks in.

In the first option, the chapter is open, while in the second option, the chapter is completely closed.

Sasikala must be hoping for the first option while the governor can delay the swearing-in and wait for the order.

If she gets the first option, the governor has no option but swear her in as the chief minister.

In 6 months' time, she has to get elected then (as an MLA).

It means she can be the chief minister and continue to remain till the next elections.

The AIADMK will disintegrate very soon.

Like I told you, the party brought in another queen bee, but this queen bee is not like the other queen bee. She may turn out to be ineffective.

Jayalalithaa, though she belonged to the Brahmin community from another state, she was not associated with any caste or community, but this queen bee is a part of a caste community, not liked by many other caste communities.

Will the people of Tamil Nadu forgive the AIADMK MLAs and MPs for what they are doing now?

There is no question of forgiving.

This party will not be there for the next elections.

This is the beginning of the end of this party.

And Paneerselvam?

He is a self-proclaimed vassal, and he will be remembered as a vassal and not as a chief minister.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraces Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam as J Jayalalithaa lies in state as Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, left, and V K Sasikala look on, December 6, 2016.

Shobha Warrier / Rediff.com