VK Sasikala, the sacked AIADMK chief released last month after a jail term for corruption, signaled today that she planned to be a disruptor for Tamil Nadu’s ruling party ahead of approaching state polls as she flaunted the party’s flag on her car on her way back to the state.
Sasikala, 66, returned to Tamil Nadu for the first time since her release on January 27 after a four-year jail term for corruption. Till now, she had been in Bengaluru, where she was treated for Covid.
While she was in jail, she was removed as AIADMK chief and expelled by E Palaniswami — the man she had handpicked as Chief Minister — as part of a compromise he reached with rebel-turned-deputy O Panneerselvam (aka OPS). While she has challenged her removal in court, the Election Commission has acknowledged the OPS-headed group as the real AIADMK and has permitted them to use the party flag and symbol.
As Sasikala’s convoy entered Tamil Nadu, with the AIADMK flag on her car despite the party’s warning against its use by non-members, her supporters showered flowers and danced in celebration.
The ruling party had complained to the police when she was spotted using the party flag after her release. Later, her team was tacitly warned by the Tamil Nadu police.
“We are not afraid of anyone. The cadre is with us. The AIADMK flag is our property,” state Law Minister CV Shanmugam, who had complained against Sasikala to the police chief a few days ago, told NDTV.
Answering a question on the AIADMK leaders’ opposition to her use of party flag, Sasikala said, “This shows they are scared.”
Recalling the ” Anbukku naan adimai, tamil panbukku nan adimai ” song from an MGR movie, Sasikala said she was a slave to the affection of party cadre and people. Sasikala said she would talk about everything later.
Sasikala’s return is set to shake up Tamil Nadu politics ahead of polls due by May, even though she cannot contest for six years because of her conviction. She belongs to the Thevar community, a key vote bank for the AIADMK.
Sasikala’s supporters, including a section of AIADMK members, are planning a big reception for her return to Tamil Nadu, especially in capital Chennai.