VK Sasikala reaches Chennai after 23-hour road trip from Bengaluru, accorded grand welcome

Before reaching home, she visited the residence of AIADMK founder and late Chief Minister MG Ramachandran at Ramapuram and paid floral tributes to his portrait

Press Trust of India February 09, 2021 14:44:53 IST
VK Sasikala reaches Chennai after 23-hour road trip from Bengaluru, accorded grand welcome

Former AIADMK leader VK Sasikala being greeted by her supporters in Tamil Nadu. AFP

Chennai: Expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala on Tuesday arrived here, 23 hours after her departure from Bengaluru, where she had served a four-year jail term in a corruption case and also underwent treatment for COVID-19.

The 65-year-old former confidante of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa arrived at T Nagar around 7 am on Tuesday. Her nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran, who indicated Sasikala might contest elections, said his efforts to "retrieve" the AIADMK will continue and asserted that the aim was to ensure that DMK did not come to power in the coming Assembly polls in the state.

Top actor Rajinikanth had enquired about Sasikala's health with him on Monday, he told reporters here.

Earlier, Sasikala had left the Karnataka capital by car on Monday morning and was accorded a grand reception by her supporters all along the way, till she reached the city this morning.

Before reaching home, she visited the residence of AIADMK founder and late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran at Ramapuram and paid floral tributes to his portrait and garlanded a statue of the popular leader installed there.

She was accompanied by Dhinakaran. Sasikala earlier underwent her sentence in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case at the Parapana Agrahara central prison in Bengaluru since February 2017 and was set free on 27 January.

However, she remained at the Government Victoria hospital, where she had been admitted after testing positive for COVID-19 while under judicial custody.

She was discharged from the hospital on 31 January after which she stayed at a resort, about 35 km from Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Dhinakaran told reporters that all efforts to ''retrieve'' the AIADMK will continue.

Further, "we are strong (determined) that DMK should not come to power and will make all efforts in this direction," he said.

Asked if AMMK and AIADMK would join hands to keep the DMK at bay, Dhinakaran said, "as far as I am concerned, AMMK was started in March 2018 to retrieve AIADMK and give Amma's rule.

"I have been saying this ever since. Our aim is to retrieve the AIADMK and when that will happen is in people's hands. I am confident that will happen," he added.

He also questioned DMK chief MK Stalin's assertion that a fresh probe by an enquiry commission will be launched into the death of Jayalalithaa if the party comes to power, and quoted a Tamil saying to suggest it was not a genuine concern.

He also charged the DMK with making baseless allegations against Sasikala on this issue.

The AMMK leader said Stalin had raked up the matter during the 2017 RK Nagar by-poll, which Dhinakaran won, following the death of Jayalalithaa who then represented the city segment in the Assembly.

To a question, he said his aunt Sasikala may contest elections, though she may have served a prison term in a corruption case.

"There is time. She may not be able to contest under the present conditions but there are options available in the law... can approach court successfully," he added.

He was a "positive thinker" and therefore he believes Sasikala could face the polls, Dhinakaran said.

He also declined to respond to a question if the BJP was involved in a possible AIADMK and AMMK tie-up, saying it was ''speculation.''

Pointing out at Sasikala's court case against her expulsion by the AIADMK led by O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami, he said she will continue with her "legal struggle."

He recalled when Jayalalithaa was the party General Secretary, she had all the authority in the top post to summon General Council and make appointments and claimed nobody else could do so.

After Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016, Sasikala was elected interim general secretary of the AIADMK and also its Legislature Party Leader later, paving the way for her elevation as chief minister, but she had to serve the jail term after the Supreme Court restored the lower court award.

The AIADMK suffered a split with Panneerselvam, now deputy chief minister, and chief minister Palaniswami heading two factions, but they later merged the groups and the general counsel of the combined party expelled Sasikala in September 2017 along with Dhinakaran and others.

Asked if his aunt would ''summon'' the General Council of the AIADMK now, Dhinakaran said only she can answer that.

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