In a massive development ahead of the TN Assembly polls, ousted AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala announced that she would enter full-fledged politics soon. Speaking to the media on Monday after her arrival in Tamil Nadu, the confidante of the late former CM J Jayalalithaa stressed that she will never bow down to oppression. According to her, the complaints filed by TN Ministers against her for using the AIADMK flag on her car showed that "they are in jitters".
Speaking on the closure of Jayalithaa's memorial in Chennai, she said, "The people of Tamil Nadu know very well what all this means". Maintaining that the party workers are eagerly awaiting her, she said that she was indebted to the people of Tamil Nadu. While refusing to categorically answer whether she would regain control of AIADMK or visit the party headquarters, she expressed hope that everyone would work together to defeat the "common enemy"- presumably a reference to DMK.
Ex-AIADMK leader VK Sasikala remarked, "Party workers are eagerly awaiting me. I am a slave to affection, Tamil people, Tamil workers. But I will never bow down to oppression."
On January 27, Sasikala was formally released from prison after serving a 4-year jail term in the Rs.66 crore disproportionate assets case. However, she was discharged from the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru only on January 31 as she was undergoing treatment for COVID-19. Earlier in the day, the former AIADMK leader left a resort on Bengaluru outskirts where she completed her home quarantine after paying floral tributes to a portrait of Jayalalithaa.
As her convoy crossed Tamil Nadu at Athipalli in Krishnagiri district, she was greeted by a large gathering of people who waved AMMK and AIADMK flags. Throughout the journey from Karnataka, her supporters broke into celebrations and showered flower petals on her convoy. Moreover, multiple banners, flex boards, posters and hoardings welcoming Sasikala were put up in the Krishnagiri district. After reaching Chennai, she is likely to visit the Ramapuram Garden to pay respect to AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran.
In a significant political milestone in TN politics, AIADMK returned to power in 2016 under the leadership of Jayalalithaa for a successive term. In the 234-member Assembly, AIADMK won a whopping 135 seats in contrast to DMK whose candidates could win from 98 constituencies. However, Jayalalithaa's untimely demise on December 5, 2016, led to a vacuum in her party which was initially filled by O Panneerselvam. But, her close confidante VK Sasikala was elected as the General Secretary of the party and sought to take over as the CM of the state in February 2017.
While Panneerselvam resigned from his post and backed her candidature, he subsequently rebelled against her. After the Supreme Court convicted Sasikala in the disproportionate assets case, her camp picked E Palaniswami as Panneerselvam's replacement. On August 21, 2017, AIADMK factions led by the CM and Panneerselvam merged and paved way for the removal of Sasikala from the party. Thereafter, her nephew TTV Dhinakaran formed the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam.
While the TN CM and his other Cabinet colleagues have ruled out the re-induction of Sasikala into AIADMK, DMK president MK Stalin has repeatedly reminded EPS that he owes his position to her. Meanwhile, Dhinakaran has maintained that she remains the AIADMK general secretary citing petitions pending in court over her ouster. However, it is pertinent to note that Sasikala cannot contest any election till 2027.