Tamil Nadu

V.K. Sasikala visits former CM Jayalalithaa’s memorial, on eve of AIADMK’s 50th anniversary

Back in action: This was Sasikala’s first visit to the memorial since her release from prison.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

 

V.K. Sasikala, close aide of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, visited the late leader’s memorial at the Marina beach, on the eve of the inauguration of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the AIADMK.

Ms. Sasikala left from her residence at T. Nagar around 10.30 a.m. in a car fitted with the AIADMK party flag, and reached the memorial an hour later. Her supporters thronged the route with flags of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and the AIADMK. This was Ms. Sasikala’s first visit to the memorial after serving her jail term at the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru, in the disproportionate assets case. A teary eyed Sasikala spent some time at the memorial and paid floral tributes.

“Amma [Jayalalithaa] and I were inseparable. I have placed my heartache of the past five years at her memorial today. I also told her about what has happened so far and assured her that there are better days for the party. I have confidence that Amma and MGR will save the party and the cadres,” she told reporters. However, she refused to answer whether she would try and take control of the AIADMK.

Later she visited MGR and Anna memorials and paid her respects. Her nephew and AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran did not accompany her.

On the day she left Chennai to begin her prison term at Bengaluru in 2017, she had visited Jayalalithaa’s memorial en route, and had taken a vow by hitting the memorial multiple times. The AIADMK’s official Twitter handle had tweeted that day that Sasikala, who was then interim general secretary of the party, had taken vows to “overcome the conspiracy, treachery and crisis against her”. She was later ousted from her position in the party, and the AIADMK is now led by former CMs O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

In February this year, when Ms. Sasikala was released from prison, the AIADMK government had imposed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, keeping the memorial out of bounds for the public, which prevented her from visiting it while returning from prison.

Over the past few months, multiple phone call recordings of Ms. Sasikala reportedly speaking to disgruntled AIADMK cadres with an aim of "bringing back the glorious days of the AIADMK" were released by her team.

While she stayed away from active politics ahead of the Assembly elections early this year to ensure the AIADMK benefits, her recent overtures are seen as an attempt to revive her political career after the party’s drubbing at the recently-concluded local body polls in nine districts.

‘Sasikala’s visit artificial’

Meanwhile, former minister and AIADMK leader D. Jayakumar termed her visit on Saturday as artificial. He said lakhs of people were visiting Jayalalithaa’s memorial everyday and Ms. Sasikala too, would be counted as one of them.

“There won't be any major impact. AIADMK is a big elephant and has such power. If a mosquito goes and sits on the elephant and claims it is bearing the weight of the elephant, people will not take it seriously,” he said. If she wanted to be in politics, TTV Dhinakaran could give her a post in the AMMK, he said.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 9:11:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vk-sasikala-visits-former-cm-jayalalithaas-memorial-on-eve-of-aiadmks-50th-anniversary/article37017605.ece

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