Vivekanandan Krishnaveni Sasikala better known as Sasikala Natarajan is the General Secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Born in 1957 in Thiruthuraipoondi to Vivekanandan and Krishnaveni, Sasikala belonged to the Kallar caste and her family members were DMK sympathisers. The couple had six children and Sasi, as she was lovingly called, was the fifth.
Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu, Mannargudi was famous for its temples before Sasikala acquired prominence both politically and financially. Now, it is better known as the home turf of the former chief minister's aide.
Sasikala owned a video rental store in the town and its ownership brought her closer to M Natarajan who was serving as Public Relation Officer in the district administration. Stunned by her beauty, Natarajan approached her parents with the offer of marriage. The couple was married in the presence of then Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi.
After the split in DMK, she chose to stick with All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam.Fond of Tamil films, she bought the video camera to shoot political rallies to earn some extra income. She developed proximity with Jayalalitha after the demise of M G Ramachandran. Isolated and bereaved Jayalalitha too found solace in her company. The AIADMK family was warring with J Jayalalitha to claim M G Ramachandran’s legacy after his demise. Meanwhile, J Jayalalitha handed over much of party’s responsibilities to Sasikala. Sasikala was even entrusted with the duties of allocation of tickets to the candidates. However, the episode brought notoriety to Sasikala where she was alleged to have sold tickets. The fiasco became louder when AIADMK lost elections in 1996 assembly elections. Senior party leaders accused her entirely of the dismal performance. In order to keep the party united, Jayalalitha was forced to oust Sasikala from her residence and party.
She proved her farsightedness when she proposed to launch AIADMK’s own Television channel ‘Jaya TV’ to counter the influence of Sun TV owned by Maran Family. Sasikala's nephew V Bhaskaran was chosen as its MD. It later came to known as the 'Colour TV' scam wherein Jayalalithaa gave approval for buying 45,302 colour TVs which cost the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 8.3 crore. Jayalalithaa was even incarcerated in connection with the scam. Her sentence resulted in senior party leader O Panneerselvam’s elevation to the post of Chief Minister.
Her relation with Jayalalitha turned sour when Sasikala was alleged to have amassed wealth using her close connections with the Chief Minister. Her coterie was named ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ and then Janta Party leader Subramanian Swamy alleged Jayalalitha on working on behest of ‘Mannargudi Mafia’. However, Jayalalitha cracked the whip on the coterie when she ousted Sasikala out of the party. Jayalalitha was informed about a possible coup by Sasikala where she was conspiring to take over as Chief Minister once Jayalalitha is jailed for her involvement in the scam.
Known for her comebacks, she was later inducted in the party on March 30, 2012. Her comeback was ensured only after she wrote a letter snapping her all relations with relatives who were accused of Impropriety.