VK Sasikala, a close aide of J Jayalalithaa, the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, is gearing up to make a political comeback. Banished to the margins by leaders of the AIADMK ever since her release from prison, ahead of this year’s assembly election, Sasikala has announced that she cannot “tolerate” the decline of the party.
“Coming soon, to set party on right track. I cannot anymore tolerate the decline of the party. Taking everyone along is the party style, let’s unite,” she said in a statement.
Sasikala was eased out from the AIADMK years ago. Ahead of the April 6 election, she had said she would stay away from politics. Now Sasikala has sad she cannot see the party getting ruined due to “infighting”.
Her reference to the feud, which has no direct mention of the AIADMK or its leadership, is seen as a pointer to alleged differences between the party’s top two leaders, EK Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam.
A brief conversation between Sasikala and two of her loyalists over the phone emerged earlier this year.
In the first clip, she can be heard saying: “We will for sure streamline the party…certainly, I will come.” In the second, she says that the party was built through hard work of leaders, including her, and it was anguishing to see “them fighting”.
Sasikala became AIADMK interim general secretary following Jayalalaitha’s death in 2016. This appointment was rescinded at a general council meet in 2017, which also announced invalidation of all the appointments made by TTV Dhinakaran, her nephew.
The meet also created new posts of coordinator and co-coordinator for OPS and EPS respectively, giving them all powers, while Sasikala and her followers were dislodged. Since then, the AIADMK has made it clear that there is no scope for rapprochement with Sasikala or her relatives.
Dhinakaran floated the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam in 2018. He has often said that retrieval of the AIADMK was his outfit’s goal.