The visit comes just a day ahead of AIADMK's golden jubilee celebrations.

Sasikala visits her long-time friend Jayalalithaa’s memorial
news POLITICS Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 15:30

VK Sasikala, a former general secretary of AIADMK and confidant of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, paid an emotional homage at Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach on Saturday, October 16, for the first time after her release from a Bengaluru prison in January this year. Sasikala also paid respect to memorials of late leaders MGR and CN Annadurai in Chennai. Sasikala, who was seen as the de facto head of the AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death, was ousted from the party after she was sent to prison in a disproportionate assets case, and former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and former Deputy DM O Panneerselvam decided to merge their factions of the party.

This move, a day ahead of the AIADMK’s golden jubilee on Sunday and a year-long celebration that is planned by the party, is seen as a significant step, as Sasikala for the past several months has been talking about reclaiming the party from its current leaders Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam.

Though the police allowed only four cars during Sasikala’s memorial visit, several of her supporters thronged the area, and a teary-eyed Sasikala paid tribute to her long-time friend Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala after her visit said, “Today at Amma’s memorial I unloaded all the burden I carried in my heart for the past five years. I am leaving the memorial with a certainty that both Amma and MGR will save the party and its cadres. I see a bright future for AIADMK, and people of Tamil Nadu very well know the reason why I came here.”

Meanwhile, taking a jibe at Sasikala, AIADMK leader Jayakumar said, “For the performance Sasikala managed to pull at Amma’s memorial today, an Oscar award can be given, but never a place in the AIADMK.”

Sasikala had earlier said that after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, she will go on a state-wide tour to meet AIADMK cadres. She added that she will start her political tour across the state only after paying homage at Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

Though Sasikala in March said that she was quitting politics and wanted to stay away from public life, ahead of the Assembly election in April, she made a comeback alleging that AIADMK is in the wrong hands. Subsequently over the months, Sasikala released a series of audio clips of her phone conversations with several AIADMK cadres and in those clips, Sasikala expressed her disappointment at AIADMK’s poor leadership, and said she will reclaim the party for Jayalalithaa and MGR.

Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK party, after her arrest in 2017 in connection with Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case. She was lodged at the Parappana Agrahara Prison in Bengaluru in February 2017 and served a jail time for four years. After her release, she was welcomed with a grand reception during her 24-hour road trip to Chennai from Bengaluru.

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