In what could become the major turning point in the face of the upcoming Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, V.K Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, may be released on January 27, 2021, confirmed the prison department officials. The former AIADMK general secretary who is currently serving a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case was convicted by the Supreme Court in a disproportionate assets case along with two of her relatives - Illavarasi and Sudhakaran lodged in the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru.
In a reply to an RTI query filed by Bengaluru’s Lawyer and activist Narasimha Murthy, Bengaluru Central Prison's Public Information Officer said that Sasikala is expected to come out of the jail on January 27, 2021, upon paying the entire fine amount of Rs 10 crore.
“Convict Sasikala's probable date of release is 27-01-2021 provided in-default fine is paid. The probable date would be 27-02-2022 if fine not paid,” the RTI reply read. The date of her release is likely to change as well if she utilises the parole facility.
Earlier in October 2017, Sasikala was out on parole for five days when her husband Natarajan was unwell. Later in March 2019, she was granted parole for 12 days when Natarajan passed away. Sasikala’s lawyer Raj Senthura Pandian earlier this month had said that she could walk out of jail by September-end if the Karnataka Prisons department grants her ordinary remission on account of her good behavior. When asked about this, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said that the decision of Sasikala's release from jail will be taken based on the law and whether or not she comes out of prison, it doesn't affect the AIADMK.
Speaking to the media on this issue, Minister Jayakumar said,
"Our stand on this matter continues to be the same. "The party and the government will continue to function without the interference of VK Sasikala; people close to her or her family members. That is our only principle," he said.
The vacuum created by J Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016 has seen unprecedented changes in the state in recent years. With the constant tussle between the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK party, political observers believe the upcoming 2021 Assembly elections will be a much-anticipated election for the state. Soon after the demise of the former Chief Minister and AIADMK Chief J Jayalalithaa, a power-struggle had taken place between the current CM Edappadi k Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Paneer Selvam. Talks emerged within party cadres soon after poster recently emerged in Theni - the home district and constituency of Paneerselvam, depicting OPS as the future candidate for the top job.
The incident was also followed by Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji taking to social media to back EPS as the chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming state elections a move which did not go down well with OPS' supporters. Requesting AIADMK Cadre to not express their opinions about the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2021 polls in front of the media, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam issued a joint statement.
Amid much speculation that actor Rajinikanth will launch his political party in November, posters from the Vellore unit of Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) have surfaced calling for political change in Tamil Nadu. The posters with the words,
“If not now, then never” suggested that members of the political outfit were getting impatient with the superstar, even as he keeps everyone guessing on his next move. Actor and choreographer Raghava Lawrence on Monday (14 September) took to twitter issuing a statement that he will join Rajinikanth's political party and also offer his support if the Superstar stands as a CM Candidate. “If not now, then when?,” questioned the actor in his tweet which garnered quite a response from fans of the Superstar.
DMK, the opposition party has M.K Stalin as its chief ministerial candidate, fans and party cadres likewise have urged Superstar Rajinikanth to put the party in action. With the ball set rolling on Former AIADMK’s General secretary V.K Sasikala’s release date, and the AIADMK yet to announce their chief ministerial candidate, what will be the turn of events unfurling before the 2021 TN Assembly elections, is something much awaited by all.
(Image credits: PTI)