For weeks now, the question on everyone's lips is: "After Jayalalitha, who?". Some of the top names doing the rounds include Visalakshi Nedunchezhiyan (a doctor and wife of late aiadmk minister V.R. Nedunchezhiyan, the number two in Jayalalitha's earlier cabinet), Deepa Sandhya (the 26-year-old daughter of the CM's late brother Jayakumar, who fancies herself as a poet), and yes, even actress-turned-politician Vijayashanti. From the Poes Garden loyalty stable, those who have made it to the 'list' include Ilavarasi (Sasikala Natarajan's brother's wife), and T.T.V. Bhaskaran (Sasikala's nephew, brother of T.T.V. Dinakaran).
However, Jayalalitha's final choice would be decided after consultations with, among others, the Brahmin 'intellectual' trio of former president R. Venkataraman, Kanchipuram math head Jayendra Saraswati and journalist-MP Cho Ramaswamy. It is believed that Cho and Venkataraman have advised her to nominate a retired ias officer and the Kanchi math head would, of course, be opposed to someone like Visalakshi Nedunchezhiyan since she is a widow. But what is beyond doubt is that the chief minister would not risk the job with a ministerial colleague or even an mla, who, despite bowing to Her Highness, could get ambitious. Power corrupts and who would know it better than the Lady of Poes Garden.