Sasikala Has Returned To Chennai But Hasn’t Attacked AIADMK Leadership Yet, Here’s What Happened

Sasikala Has Returned To Chennai But Hasn’t Attacked AIADMK Leadership Yet, Here’s What HappenedA Sasikala poster in Chennai. (Twitter)
Snapshot
  • “My objective is to check our common political adversary from capturing power,” she said in an apparent reference to the main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

V K Sasikala, the one time confidante of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, has sung a different tune from what was expected after her release from jail earlier this week.

While many observers expected her to join the battle to reclaim the party which she controlled through her access to Jayalalithaa, Sasikala seems to have taken a different route at least for now.

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has been a nervous party for the past few days. The incumbent Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy (EPS) and nearly all of his cabinet colleagues were once proteges of the Jayalalithaa-Sasikala duo.

Post the death of Jayalalithaa in 2016, the party saw the rebellion of one of its leading captains O Paneerselvam (OPS) and the subsequent coup d'etat against Sasikala herself.

These developments led to EPS becoming Chief Minister and OPS, his deputy.

The leaders behind the coup were largely emboldened by the fact that Sasikala would remain imprisoned for four years — serving out a sentence given to her by the courts in a corruption case against her and Jayalalithaa.

"My objective is to check our common political adversary from capturing power," she said in an apparent reference to the main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). About the current leadership, who have managed to exert control over the party and government, she hasn't chosen to comment yet.

Her statements about defeating the 'common political adversary' comes at a time when the ruling AIADMK is girding up its loins to fight the assembly elections just two or three months away.

This would be the party's first assembly election after Jayalalithaa's death and a defeat may spell trouble. It is worth recollecting that the party had received a drubbing in the parliamentary elections of 2019.

T T V Dhinakaran, Sasikala's nephew and the leader of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) — the splinter group from AIADMK that remains loyal to Sasikala, organised large reception parties as Sasikala travelled from Bengaluru to Chennai. Some second rung AIADMK leaders who provided facilities or were present during the reception have been removed from the party.

There were some fracas at the state borders when objections were raised against Sasikala using the AIADMK flag. T T V Dhinakaran's AMMK had arranged for over 30 pit stops with fireworks and bands to project the return of Sasikala as a political statement.

The statements continued in Chennai as Sasikala made her way to the memorial home of M G Ramachandran (MGR), the founder of AIADMK and former chief minister of the state.

She would have ideally liked to complete her itinerary with a visit to Jayalalithaa's memorial at the Marina Beach and her palatial house at Poes Gardens. The state government has however closed both the sites citing other reasons and thus denying Sasikala another opportunity for a political statement.

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