But while her writ ran large, Jayalalithaa kept her on a tight leash, drawing the line when it came to matters of administration. Sasikalaa handpicked party office bearers, mostly from her Thevar (OBC) community, and influenced postings to key government departments.
Her clout was restricted to just that as Jayalalithaa brooked no interference from her. And, not once did Jayalalithaa project her friend as a political heir.
Today, the rustic woman from small town Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district who has always been in her friend’s shadow, is in a position to call the shots -in the party and in government too. But the self-effacing school dropout may well take the back seat, preferring to pull strings from behind-thescenes.
The party grapevine has it that Sasikalaa may not be averse to taking over the party reins where her public interaction would be limited, and leave the more high profile job of running the administration to trusted aide O Panneerselvam.