Order changeth: Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide Sheela Balakrishnan, others removed from key posts

While a senior AIADMK leader said the decision to remove Jayalalithaa loyalists was taken by party chief K Sasikala and her husband M Natarajan, sources close to Panneerselvam said he was merely obeying the orders from the party considering various factors, including unity in party as well as to avoid multiple power centres at the top of administration.

Order changeth: Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide Sheela Balakrishnan, others removed from key posts

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday removed three top officials appointed by J Jayalalithaa from the CM’s office.

While former chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan was asked to quit as adviser to the Tamil Nadu government, where she was appointed by the late CM Jayalalithaa in March 2014 after retirement, key faces, who were also trusted aides of Jayalalithaa, including K N Venkataramanan and A Ramalingam, the Secretary I and IV in CMO, are the other top officials removed from their posts,

 Indian Express reported.

A top government source, confirming the report, said: “…while Ramalingam’s removal was expected for his close links with Sheela, Venkataramanan, who had a good rapport with Sasikala as well, had never expected to face the heat of new political changes happening at the top of AIADMK.”

Multiple sources in the party and the government confirm that the latest developments are an indicator to some major political decisions to be heard from the ruling party in few days.

While a senior AIADMK leader said the decision to remove Jayalalithaa loyalists was taken by party chief  K Sasikala and her husband M Natarajan, sources close to Panneerselvam said he was merely obeying the orders from the party considering various factors, including unity in party as well as to avoid multiple power centres at the top of administration.

The AIADMK leader said Natarajan, once a political mentor of late Jayalalithaa after MG Ramachandran’s death and known for his political talents, had suggested these crucial changes at the helm of the government.

“A retired IAS officer, who served as the Officer on Special Duty and was thrown out by Jayalalithaa in 2011 for his close links with Natarajan, may be one of the faces to replace Sheela Balakrishnan, Venkataramanan and Ramalingam. Not just these three, the entire CMO is likely to be restructured and the only official likely to retain the post may be Shiv Das Meena IAS,” he said, as reported by Indian Express.