Sasikala likely to visit Jaya memorial on Oct 16, first since release from prison

This will be Sasikala's first visit to the memorial since she was released from the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru after serving a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case.

Expelled AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala is likely to visit the memorial of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on October 16, a day ahead of the golden jubilee celebration of the founding of the AIADMK party.

This will be Sasikala’s first visit to the memorial since she was released from the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru after serving a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case.

As per reports, Sasikala is set to pay floral tributes at the memorial of AIADMK leaders Jayalalithaa and M G Ramachandran, both former presidents of the party.

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The visit would come days after the local rural body poll results which is set to be declared on October 12. Having secured defeats in both the 2019 Lok Sabha and the 2021 Assembly election, the AIADMK’s performance in these polls will be closely watched.

Political analysts believe if AIADMK suffers another slump in the local body polls, it will boost Sasikala’s confidence of projecting herself as the sole savior of the party, and might even make the AIADMK cadres flock to her.

In several leaked audiotapes of a purported conversation between Sasikala and certain party members over the last couple of months, the former AIADMK leader was heard saying that she has the responsibility to save the party and re-establish the rule of ‘Amma’ (Jayalalithaa).

Ahead of her visit, Sasikala was quoted as saying by ‘Namadhu MGR’ daily, “One who dearly loves Puratchi Thalaivar MGR, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma will not leave the party. I saw the anguish of the party cadres, I cannot remain silent anymore. After the demise of MGR, we stood with Amma and rescued the party. What happened after MGR’s demise has happened once again, and hence, I have to come back to the party and guide everyone in the right direction. My only wish and desire is to bring back Amma’s government. We must strive hard towards it.”

The AIADMK is set to hold a year-long celebration of the golden jubilee (2021-22), and honour “revolutionary leader” MGR, who founded the party in 1972 to uphold justice and dislodge the regime of “evil force”.

In a statement, AIADMK leaders Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Pannerselvam appealed to the party cadres to celebrate the historic golden jubilee with joy, and hold events following Covid-19 guidelines. Sweets will be distributed to the public on the founding day (October 17).

The statues of MGR and Jayalalithaa are set to be garlanded, and party flags will be hoisted in Tamil Nadu and other neighbouring states where the party has an organisational presence.

When Sasikala returned to Chennai after leaving prison in February this year, there was speculation as to whether she would head straight to the memorial of Jayalalithaa. However, at the time, the public works department had barred public entry citing pending construction work. This was largely seen as a stunt by the previous AIADMK government to prevent Sasikala from entering the memorial.

After her release, which came months before the Tamil Nadu elections, Sasikala had announced she would step away from active politics. In a two-page statement, she said she was never keen on occupying any posts or power, and asked the cadres to stay united and work hard to stop the common enemy and evil force DMK from coming to power, and ensure the golden rule of Amma is implemented in the state.

(With PTI Inputs)

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