A tearful VK Sasikala, who declared in March that she will “stay away from politics and public life”, visited the memorials of former chief ministers J Jayalalithaa, MG Ramachandran and CN Annadurai along the Marina in a public spectacle, prior to the the golden jubilee celebration of the founding of the AIADMK party.
The expelled AIADMK leader had arrived at the memorial in a car sporting the party flag of her former party. This is Ms. Sasikala’s first visit to the memorial following her return from jail in the beginning of this year.
The development follows AIADMK’s loss in the assembly and the local body polls.
“I am confident MGR and Jayalalithaa would save the cadre and the party. There is good future,” she told the media assembled at the venue.
At the Jayalalithaa memorial, she was seen tearful as she stood reflecting for a few minutes amid a massive number of supporters surrounding her.
“I’ve offloaded the burden in my heart at Amma’s memorial. Amma lived for cadre and people of Tamil Nadu,” she added.
A few analysts also say that it is an attempt to revive her political career. She however is on record downplaying the same.
“I have never been after power or position even when Jaya was alive. Won’t do that after she is dead. I am staying away from politics to ensure continuation of AIADMK’s ‘golden rule’ in Tamil Nadu,” Ms Sasikala mentioned in a letter earlier this year ahead of Tamil Nadu state polls.
Ms. Sasikala’s retreat from politics was also seen as an attempt to cover herself from potential criticism that she helped the DMK capture power if election results turned favourable for the opposition.
Ms. Sasikala had walked in as party chief after Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016, and had tried to become the chief minister unsuccessfully as she was handed four-year jail term for corruption in the disproportionate assets case in which the prime accused was Jayalalithaa.
Before she had left for jail she handpicked Edappadi K Palaniswami, or EPS, to become Chief Minister. He had unseated the then Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, or OPS, after he rebelled against Sasikala’s claim, to take over.
Although, Sasikala has never contested any election – not even once within her former party. The AIADMK, which expelled her form the party, has made it clear that there is no place for her.