Ottakara Thevar Panneerselvam is a lonely man. He is without friends or relatives. Party-men and his followers have deserted him. ADMK office bearers from his own district have moved to Edappadi camp. He can’t trust his sons either. If EPS offers tickets to both sons for lok sabha and assembly, they will kill their father and surrender to EPS.
All this is his own making. The rags to riches history of OPS can be read in the following links.
This piece is not about his history. This is about his undoing.
The drama that surrounded the demise and midnight swearing of O.Panneerselvam and his cabinet is still shrouded in mystery. Why did OPS start his Dharma Yudham ? Why did he end it ? What did he demand ?
The answers to these questions will probably explain the title of this piece.
Jayalalitha died on 5th December 2022. OPS was sworn in on the midnight of the same day. Before OPS, the name of Sengottaiyan was considered. To impress Sasikala and Dinakaran, OPS pleaded he may not be made CM this time, as there is too much pressure on him. Wavering between Sengottaiyan and OPS, the family settled on OPS. Such was the performance of OPS.
Sasikala got herself elected as the temporary General Secretary on 31st of December. Her power play was just amazing.
The third time CM OPS was not the old OPS. This new OPS is a a puppet in the hands of his two sons. Being an emotional man, OPS did whatever his two kids said. By this time, the kids along with their brother in law started flexing their muscles. They threw their weight around. Word was spread that there are two go-getters in town.
Power crept into their head. They conspired to send Sasikala to prison with BJP’s help. Gurumurthy was plotting to teach Sasikala a lesson for not allowing him access to Jayalalitha. He lured the greedy kids and they took the bait.
Gurumurthy and notorious Judicial broker “Judicial Krishnamurthy” stepped in and ensured Jaya’s appeal was taken up immediately. OPS was assured that he will continue as CM and also assured that Sasi will be sent to jail. He was told not to resign at any cost.
Unaware of the danger that she is in, Sasikala decided to take the reins. On 6th February 2017, OPS submitted his resignation. In spite of the firm instruction of Gurumurthy not to resign, OPS meekly submitted the resignation. In the wee hours, OPS and his two sons met Gurumurthy. Thuglaq Ramesh accompanied them.
Gurumurthy, advised OPS to sit in meditation at Jaya’s samadhi. OPS was asked to speak about divine intervention of Amma’s Aanma instructing him to start Dharma Yudham.
OPS was told to drop a bombshell. OPS did. He said, “there is some conspiracy in the treatment given to Amma. What he indirectly meant was, ‘Sasikala killed Jaya”. By this time, a sympathy wave was building up for OPS cleverly organised by his IT wing, some wings of which functioned from abroad, courtesy : Gurumurthy.
TN news channels were initially reluctant to pick up this news as Jaya’s death is an emotional issue. But, Gurumurthy ensured that National channels picked up this story. Tamil channels were forced to follow suit.
In the meantime, Sasikala was gearing up for the grand gala ceremony. Madras University’s centenary hall was being prepared for the swearing in. But, the man who will swear in Sasikala went missing.
Governor Vidya Sagar Rao, on the instruction of Gurumurthy, left for Ooty Raj Bhavan and from there left for Mumbai. Without the invitation of the governor Sasikala can never be the CM. A state’s governor played hide and seek.
OPS played to the gallery and the chorus around him joined. The Late PH Pandian said, Jaya was pushed from the first floor and then brought to Apollo in an unconscious state. People just loved these conspiracy theories. Gurumurthy speeded up things in Delhi. SC promptly listed Jaya’s appeal and confirmed the 4 year conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran. Things changed topsy turvy for the erstwhile Princess of poes garden.
TTV Dinakaran was in command at that time. Sasi and her team including TTV Dinakaran, took their flock of MLAs to a resort at Koovathur. Bribed them. Discussed among them. Brain stormed and decided to make Edappadi Palanisamy as the CM of the state. Edappadi touched Chinnamma’s feet and sought her blessings. He was sworn in.
OPS’s expectations went south. Apart from the initial stock of 11 MLAs, none of them joined. EPS paid the MLA well who followed him. None complained. OPS was not able to win over even one more MLA from EPS camp. OPS went on a Dharma Yudham tour as advised by Gurumurthy. Wherever he went, his only plea was “Amma’s death should be probed”. Only due to his insistence, the treatment given to Jaya was made public by Apollo. The fact that Jaya had to wear adult diaper was disclosed.
A retired HC judge at the cost of more than 2 crores of tax payers money, went on a fishing expedition. Justice Arumugasamy Commission even after 4 years, is yet to submit his report.
A close relative of OPS said, “This fellow always says Amma, Amma. Is it fair to disclose the ailments of Jaya who is a very private person ? There is some controversial things about the treatment given to his deceased wife. Will OPS demand a probe into his wife’s death” wondered the relative.
Once again Gurumurthy failed Delhi. The horse he bet on failed them. They decided to bet on EPS who promptly delivered. He was offered a haven to loot with due protection from agencies. He obeyed. He ditched the Sasikala family. Ministers were asked to go to the town tom-tomming her treachery. They in fact let loose a murmur campaign that Sasikala family killed Jaya. Jaya’s legs were missing and what not ?
OPS camp started getting frustrated. So a plan was hatched. The plan was to join hands with the 18 MLAs, whose support TTV was enjoying and topple the EPS government. Amma’s government.
A meeting was arranged. Abinesh of Baashyam group facilitated the meet with TTV Dinakaran with OPS. TTV agreed to the coup. OPS promised to bring the 11 MLAs in 5 minutes and went into hiding. An irritated TTV, asked his MLA Thanga Tamilselvan to blow the whistle much to the embarrassment of OPS. OPS’s dharma yudham lost steam. His graph began to go down.
Gurumurthy asked EPS to patch up and OPS was waiting to grab anything that comes his way. But OPS demanded his pound of flesh to merge his faction with EPS.
He demanded the lucrative portfolios of PWD and Highways. EPS naturally refused. Baashyam Abinesh intervened and instructed OPS to seek Town and Country Planning, CMDA, and a couple more. T&CP is a milch cow. The entire family started to milk the cow indiscriminately. His sons spread their wings and flew across the state and to other states offering real estate. Money was just falling from the sky.
While OPS was counting his money, EPS was spending. He directed his cash cow SP Velumani to execute his plan. All the party leaders in all the districts were called one by one. Each one was handed over a tender from the local administration department and allotted a commission of 20%. Many party office bearers became crorepatis. They were thanking their gods and Edappadi Palanisamy.
All the party office bearers who got tender will invariably get an invitation from the CM’s office. Even before the office bearer returned to his home town after meeting EPS, a framed image of his meeting with Edappadi Palanisamy adorned ADMK party office in districts. EPS won over the majority of party leaders.
EPS slowly pulled the rug from under the feet of OPS. But, a canny EPS waited for the right moment, patiently.
As predicted, in spite of spending huge, ADMK fought and narrowly lost. This was the time for EPS to collect his fruits. His investments worked nicely. The party solidly stood behind EPS. OPS was almost cut off from the party after elections. A GC member from Theni who switched camps said it was very difficult to even meet OPS. He never saw visitors and spent most of the time alone in his farm house.
EPS decided to strike once the announcement for Presidential election was out. He knew the BJP’s priority would be to secure maximum votes and win the election with a handsome margin.
He struck. It was a heavy blow. OPS never expected the coup. He should have. His disconnect with the party proved to be his undoing.
He sought the help of DMK. EPS was closely monitoring the moves in his enemy camp. And he had a mole.
Expecting OPS to seek the help of BJP, he dialled TN BJP President Annamalai and conveyed his terms for the Presidential polls. “Stay Away”. They did.
He called the General Council on 23rd June. OPS never suspected a thing. He walked straight into the trap. With him in the dais, EPS announced the GC, denial of voting rights to Special Invitees. He decided to test the waters. Madhavaram Moorthy was the first one to sound the bugle. Everyone followed suit. One by one, ADMK leaders endorsed the unitary leadership. Some named EPS openly, others advocated unity. But the writing on the wall was clear. OPS’s hey days are over.
OPS was clearly outsmarted. He lost the game. Only option before him was to stop the General Council.
Again OPS went to Gurumurthy. Gurumurthy employed the services of Judicial Krishnamurthy. He directed OPS to move the court. Their plan didn’t work. Single judge ruled in EPS’s favour.
OPS did the unthinkable. He addressed Avadi Commissioner of Police and the Manager of the marriage hall and hit a new low. The few who had respect for OPS also left.
The single judge’s evening judgement was struck down by a Division Bench at dawn. To EPS, it was a rude shock. He underestimated his enemy. A wounded tiger, he vengefully bought General Council members. Sky’s the limit and they fell in line one by one, barring a very few.
Date of the new GC was announced on the previous GC and the party was gearing up for the final showdown.
OPS moved contempt before the same Division Bench and sought a stay of the new GC which was promptly shot down by the Division Bench. Contempt was posted on Friday. The Bench was informed that the SLP of EPS against their midnight judgement is under challenge. The Division Bench backtracked and posted the matter to a day next to SC hearing.
What happened in the SC hearing ? What is its aftermath ?
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