Updated: October 17, 2021 8:44:12 pm
A day after visiting the memorial of late party chief J Jayalalithaa, expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala Sunday visited the MGR Memorial in Chennai, hoisted the party flag and unveiled a plaque identifying herself as the General Secretary of the party.
Speaking after the event, Sasikala was quoted by news agency ANI as saying that it was now time to be united for the “sake of party and welfare of people”.
Responding to Sasikala unveiling a plaque naming her as the general secretary of the party, senior AIADMK leader and former minister D Jayakumar said that she had no right to hoist the AIADMK flag or use the party name and claim herself as general secretary.
— Janardhan Koushik (@koushiktweets) October 17, 2021
“If Sasikala claims herself as general secretary of AIADMK then it’s against the court’s order,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier in the day, Sasikala also visited MGR’s residence at Ramapuram and paid floral tributes to his statue and offered floral tribute to former CM Janaki Ramachandran.
On Saturday, she visited the memorial of late party chief Jayalalithaa for the first time since her release from jail in Bengaluru in February this year. In what can be seen as an indication of her willingness to return to politics, Sasikala said that she told the former CM at her memorial everything that had transpired within the party so far, “and assured her of a better future for the party”.
Sasikala’s last visit to the memorial was in 2017, before surrendering herself as a convict in the disproportionate assets case. She had then taken a vow by thumping the marble slabs of the memorial.
Sasikala’s visit in a charged environment, followed by hundreds of followers holding flags of both Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) of her nephew T T V Dhinakaran and of the AIADMK, was also a prelude to her statewide tour, likely starting from Tanjavur on October 27. After paying tearful tributes at Jayalalithaa’s memorial on Saturday, Sasikala told the media, “Amma (Jayalalithaa) was inseparable when it came to my life…. Here I was relieving myself from all the pains I had gone through in the last five years. I told her what had happened so far, and assured her a better future for the party. I am sure Amma and Thalaivar (AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran) will save the party and our cadres.”
A close aide told The Sunday Express that Sasikala will meet party functionaries on October 27 at Tanjavur, where she will also attend a family function. “In the next three days, she will address party meetings at Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, and Ramanathapuram. At each place, indoor meetings are being planned for not less than 1,000 people, leaving no doubt about her larger political plans,” the source said.
After Sasikala’s release in February, her decision to stay away from politics during the Assembly polls had surprised many. There was speculation that she was either avoiding a situation in which she had to directly take on AIADMK electorally, or was asked to stay away by BJP, which was an ally of then ruling AIADMK, now led by former CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and then deputy CM O Panneerselvam, leaders who had ousted her from the party.
Meanwhile, AIADMK party leaders K Palaniswami and O Paneerselvam Sunday were seen garlanding the statue of party founder MG Ramachandran & J Jayalalithaa at the party in Royapettah, Chennai. The AIADMK headquarters in Chennai on Avvai Shanmugam Salai would be christened ‘Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Maligai (Revolutionary leader MGR Castle)’, the leaders said. Among the several announcements made by them to celebrate the golden jubilee year were a big ticket party conference, honouring veteran party workers with gold plated commemorative medals and cash gifts, and institution of awards named after party icons, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa.
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