VK Sasikala, Warned, Flaunts AIADMK Flag Again As She Heads To Tamil Nadu
VK Sasikala, the sacked AIADMK chief released last month after a jail term for corruption, signaled that she planned to be a disruptor for Tamil Nadu’s ruling party ahead of approaching state polls as she defiantly displayed its flag on her car as she headed to the state by road.
Sasikala, 66, is returning to Tamil Nadu for the first time since her release on January 27 after a four-year jail term for corruption. Till now, she was 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.
This morning, as Sasikala left for Tamil Nadu from the Prestige Golfshire Club in Bengaluru, where she had been staying since her discharge from hospital, her car displayed the AIADMK flag. She was seen in a car in a green sari, greeting supporters with folded hands.
The Tamil Nadu government had complained to the police when she was spotted using the party flag after her release. She was then warned by the police against using it, since she was no more a member of the party.
Sasikala’s supporters, including some AIADMK members that have been at odds with the Chief Minister and his deputy, are planning a big reception for her return to Tamil Nadu, especially in Hosur that borders Karnataka.
Sasikala’s planned reception may set up a clash with the state administration with the police warning against any big gatherings on account of traffic and Covid restrictions.
Just before her comeback, properties owned by her relatives VN Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi, were confiscated. The Tamil Nadu government said it was following a 2017 Supreme Court order on the two, who had been convicted along with Sasikala in an illegal wealth case.
Sasikala, a close live-in aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, took over as AIADMK chief soon after her death in 2016. She made an abortive attempt at taking the post of Chief Minister when she was convicted for corruption by the Supreme Court in a case in which Jayalalithaa was also accused.
Jayalalithaa’s sprawling home at Chennai’s Poes Garden, where Sasikala also stayed, was turned into a memorial last month in a quiet and rushed function amid uncertainty over whether it will stand legal scrutiny.
Sasikala’s return may shake up Tamil Nadu politics ahead of polls due by May, even though she cannot contest because of her conviction.