Sasikala hints at political battle; her nephew hints she may contest in the 2021 elections

AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran has dropped hints on whether VK Sasikala would contest the upcoming elections
VK Sasikala
VK Sasikala

Expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala arrived in Chennai on Tuesday, 23 hours after her departure from Bengaluru, where she served a four-year jail term in a corruption case and also underwent treatment for Covid -19.

Draped in a green sari, former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s favourite colour, Sasikala left Bengaluru after paying floral tributes to a portrait of Jayalalithaa. She was accompanied by her nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dhinakaran.

During the journey, Sasikala told the party members in the presence of media persons, “Just like how Amma (J Jayalalithaa) told to run AIADMK for another 100 years after her, in order to continue her legacy, I'll live the rest of my life for the development of the party, by following the principles that family is party and party is family. All the children of Jayalalithaa are my children too.” She added: “The party has undergone a lot of difficulties and in all those times we should take a resolution to submit our success on the feet of Jayalalithaa. No matter how many challenges we face, we will have to face them with the blessing of Jayalalithaa.”

Her supporters broke into celebrations and showered flower petals on her convoy throughout the journey from Karnataka. Before heading to her current residence at T Nagar, Chennai, she visited the residence of AIADMK founder and late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran at Ramapuram, Chennai and paid floral tributes to his portrait and garlanded a statue of the popular leader installed there. She could not, however, visit Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden house due to the Madras High Court order against allowing the public into the home. Also, Sasikala could not visit the memorial of Jayalalitha as the memorial has been closed due to maintenance works.

The return of Sasikala, a close aide of Jayalalithaa, to Tamil Nadu’s political scene after her imprisonment in the disproportionate assets case has sent ripples through the AIADMK. Her decision to travel in a car bearing the AIADMK flag, despite Tamil Nadu Ministers filing a complaint with the police, shows that she will not bow out without a fight for the party that she once led. Although Sasikala was removed as interim general secretary of the AIADMK by the new leadership under O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami in 2017, she had challenged her removal from the post in courts, and she is likely to pursue the cases upon her return to Chennai.

Dhinakaran, who indicated Sasikala might contest elections, said his efforts to “retrieve” the AIADMK will continue and asserted that the aim was to ensure that DMK did not come to power in the coming Assembly polls in the state. Dhinakaran further claimed that several members of the AIADMK are in touch with him, who will soon join the AMMK fold. Replying to a question on if AMMK and AIADMK would join hands to keep the DMK at bay he said, "as far as I am concerned, AMMK was started in March 2018 to retrieve AIADMK and give Amma's [Sasikala] rule."

The AMMK leader said he will be contesting the upcoming elections in Tamil Nadu from two constituencies including RK Nagar. The party will consult legal experts on Sasikala contesting in elections, he added. Although the ousted AIADMK general secretary announced on Monday that she would enter full-fledged politics soon, it is pertinent to note that Sasikala cannot contest any election till 2027.

On January 27, Sasikala was formally released from prison after serving a 4-year jail term in the Rs.66 crore disproportionate assets case. However, she was discharged from the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru only on January 31 as she was undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, AIADMK expelled the party members who went to greet Sasikala. Among the people, Dhakshnamoorthy, AIADMK district general secretary, who offered his car to Sasikala for travelling to Chennai, was sacked by the party.

The NationWide