COVID-19 has caused many upheavals but the latest is a political one.
Coronavirus has indeed upset a well-laid out plan by the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on January 27, when V K Sasikala, who was hospitalised in Bengaluru had to delay her return to Chennai on that day, after being freed from prison in Karnataka.
The AIADMK had sought to draw the party cadre to the inauguration of Jayalalithaa’s memorial on the Marina beach, to prevent a large turnout at rival AMMK’s reception programme for Sasikala on her arrival in Chennai. The Federal was the first to reveal that the Jayalalithaa memorial launch was fixed on January 27 to counter Sasikala’s reception scheduled on the same day.
Chief Minister Palaniswami’s (EPS) idea was to divert attention from Chinnamma (Sasikala was thus called by party leaders, which included deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) and the cadre) by playing the all-powerful Amma (Jayalalithaa) card. The memorial was a ploy to prevent the AIADMK cadre from making a beeline to Sasikala’s residence in Chennai.
Also read:AIADMK under no pressure to take back Sasikala, says EPS
The date of Sasikala’s release on January 27 had been announced two weeks earlier. The memorial launch on January 27 was not a coincidence but part of a deeper plan by EPS to shift the spotlight from Sasikala. EPS knew fully well that a section within the AIADMK would call on Sasikala, who is being freed from prison after serving a four-year sentence in the Disproportionate Assets case, in which Jayalalithaa was accused no 1 and also convicted.
EPS, therefore, had hatched a plan to organise an AIADMK event in remembrance of Jayalalithaa on the same day and ensure a poor attendance at the AMMK show. The ruling AIADMK could ill-afford a massive crowd at Sasikala’s reception, with elections just three months away.
However, Sasikala, who is said to have contracted the coronavirus infection a few days ago, has been hospitalised in Bengaluru. On the morning of January 27, Sasikala was technically released from prison with the order even being delivered at the hospital. However, doctors advised her to continue the treatment for the infection, causing a delay in her return to Chennai.
Also read:Sasikala has no chance of rejoining AIADMK: Palaniswami
Sasikala is expected to remain in the hospital until January 31 and could head for Chennai on February first week.
Thus, the elaborate plan to thwart a large-scale reception for Sasikala in Chennai has been scotched by the spoilsport, coronavirus. The EPS group will now have to conceive another strategy to contain Sasikala.
Also, on January 28, the AIADMK government acted in haste announcing that they will open another Jayalalithaa memorial by converting the Poes Garden residence in Chennai. This move too is clearly aimed at Sasikala, to prevent her from moving into the residence and stake claim to the Jaya legacy.
Meanwhile, Sasikala’s attempt to renovate and occupy a new house right opposite the Jaya residence has also been blocked. The EPS government clearly does not want Sasikala to use the Poes Garden route to make an emotional appeal to the party cadre.