Two candidates in the front line for key post in SSCT
Hyderabad: In the silent succession war for the material legacy of Satya Sai Baba, which broke out in Satya Sai Central Trust (SSCT) after his death, two people have emerged as the leading contenders.
One is Baba's nephew, R.J. Ratnakar, and the other Baba's long-time personal attendant Satyajit.
While the final decision of who gets the key position in the apex body of Satya Sai's empire is likely to be taken by the SSCT, when it meets, possibly on Thursday, a day after Baba's burial, supporters and opponents of the two contenders have become embroiled in hectic lobbying.
Both Ratnakar and Satyajit are relatively young.
While Ratnakar, son of Baba's younger brother Janakiram, was inducted into the trust only last year to fill the vacancy caused by his father's death five years ago, Satyajit is not a member of the trust.
However, sources said that Baba had expressed his wish before other trust members that Satyajit should be inducted into the trust as he was immensely happy with the way he had rendered services to him and taken care of him.
Satyajit hails from Tamil Nadu and was brought to the Prashanti Nilayam ashram at the age of five. Since then he has been part of the ashram, did his schooling in the ashram and completed his MBA from Satya Sai University.
Even after completing his MBA, he did not accept offers from the corporate sector but opted to dedicate himself to the service of Sai Baba instead.
According to the watchers of Prashanti Nilayam affairs, K. Chakravarthy, the influential secretary of the trust, was in favour of Satyajit succeeding Baba at the helm of the trust. He also has the support of a few other members.
Ratnakar on the other hand was running his campaign on the argument that the responsibility of running the affairs of the trust should remain in Baba's family. Ironically he does not have the support of the other members of the Sai clan as they were not happy with Ratnakar's style of operating.
Ever since the SSCT was registered in 1972, Baba was its founder chairman and he had the last word in its affairs. Though the power to sign cheques rested with other individuals — the chairman and the secretary — Baba's word was final.
When the trust meets next, it will be the first time that it will meet without Sai Baba's towering presence. Though the trust has several influential people and statesmen including former Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati, it remains to be seen how the body deals with the tricky challenge of finding a suitable successor for Baba to run the body.