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Jayalalitha and her charisma
When a charismatic person dies, he/she leaves a vacuum which may be difficult to fill. If the personalities of similar stature are not present in the same party, the space opens up for other players to capitalise on the situation. These other players may be political rivals or any outsider advocating similar ideological principles. This is the situation in Tamil Nadu, where the sudden demise of Jayalalithaa who was about six months into her fourth substantive term as Chief Minister seems to have created such a space. While there is no second-line leadership, O. Panneerselvam has been sworn in as Chief Minister, as he had previously done on two earlier occasions when he stood in for Jayalalithaa until handled her legal disability to hold office. But this time he cannot afford to play an underdog and display the reticence of a substitute. The absence of Jayalalithaa from political scene would also mean a more amenable to Central pressure.

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