Is V K Sasikala’s re-entry into active politics a bane or boon for AIADMK?

    10-Feb-2021   
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There are ripples in ruling AIADMK camp about her decision and growing opposition against her despite claims by TTV Dinakaran that their sleeper cells are still there in AIADMK.
 
Sasikala is all set to begin a new political journey after completing her prison term in Bengaluru in the Rs.66.6 crore disproportionate assets (DA) case. Being discharged from a hospital where she was treated for Covid-19 and returned to Chennai to a grand reception. En-route to her journey to Tamil Nadu on 8th February, her supporters burst crackers and accorded her a warm welcome as if she was a freedom fighter coming out of jail. Before leaving she told media persons and cadres, “I will be actively involved in politics and indebted to TN people. I cannot be cowed down by ‘oppression’. I have come out of Corona due to divine intervention and the blessings of my Akka (elder sister) Jayalalithaa, who lives in the hearts of people. I will dedicate the rest of my life to ensure Jayalalithaa’s oft-repeated statement that AIADMK will exist for a 100 years even after her and would follow the principle of ‘ family is the party’, ‘party is the family’. Puratchi Thalaivi’s ( revolutionary leader) children are forever mine too”. Dwelling further she said that AIADMK has faced so many challenges and had risen like a phoenix. “My desire is that we must jointly work to ensure our common foe (DMK) does not come to the ruling saddle again in Tamil Nadu”, she added. Dinakaran has also said that our common enemy is DMK and not OPS or EPS.
Sasikala underscored the importance of unity by saying, “it is our duty to ensure there should be no place for ‘ divide and rule’ by political opponents and the grand movement which is walking the path laid down by our founder MGR and should not collapse due to the whims and fancies of a few”.
 
But in the AIADMK camp, she is an unwanted guest. Chief Minister Edapadi K Palaniswamy, who will be the CM face in the ensuing assembly elections, is coalescing an electoral combine to take on the DMK. After confirming alliance with BJP, the party is holding parleys with PMK, DMDK and other likeminded parties. Majority of the AIADMK front line leaders feel Sasikala’s entry and her nephew Dinakaran’s fringe political party Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam ( AMMK ) may make a dent in their political fortunes. The AIADMK wants to hit a hat-trick by winning in the coming elections.
 
AIADMK had filed a police complaint against Sasikala to restrain her from not using the ruling party flag on her car. In a preemptive move to checkmate her next move, ruling government through district collector confiscated 6 ground and 1,087 sq.ft land in Chennai belonging to Sasikala’s sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew VN Sudhangan in a posh locality of Chennai. On Monday, Chengleput Collector notified the confiscation of six properties (14 acres of agricultural lands) owned by Sudhangan and J Ilavarasi. This measure is in pursuance of 14th February 2017 SC judgment upholding the conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi, Sudhangan and former CM Jayalalithaa ( prime accused) in the DA case. There are nearly 50 properties to be confiscated including Kodanadu tea estate, bungalows at Sriuvathur and Paiyanur on old Mahabalipuram Road, companies and movables assets. The party suspended and expelled cadres who put up banners welcoming Sasikala. To outwit the ruling party, Sasikala boarded Sulur East union AIADMK functionary SR Sambangi’s car who is now being expelled from the party later.
 
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said “ both Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran are DMK’s B-team who have nothing to do with the AIADMK. She has no right to use the party flag and is no way connected with the party. This is not my personal opinion. But also the stand of the party”.
 
An AIADMK source said, “A letter purported to have been written by Sasikala to Jayalalithaa ( March 31, 2012) that she had no intention of entering politics or aspiration for party posts like MLA, MP, Minister or taking part in power. “ I have no liking for any of these and no intention to enter in public life. Will remain a true sister to Akka ( Jayalalithaa) and endorse her disciplinary actions against my relatives who have been accused of wrongdoings with whom I will have no truck. Will dedicate my remaining life for Akka”. This was her letter repenting her actions. Immediately after Jayalalithaa’s demise, she tried to take over the party by back door and to become its General Secretary. This was a route to become CM. Both sides ( Dinakaran and AIADMK led EPS, OPS) took it up with Election commission. It recognized the faction led by OPS and EPS is the real AIADMK. Dinakaran floated AMMK and contested in Lok Sabha and assembly by-polls. Now Sasikala is going against her assurances and trying to enter politics. At this hour we need unity to halt Stalin led DMK alliance coming to power”.
 
Sasikala was advised for home quarantine and rest for two to three months as she has co-morbidities. Social media activist Raghupathy said, “without saying anything Kejriwal, who took part movement against corruption, made an entry for over two crores towards Tea Samosa expenses, fodder scam Lalu Prasad Yadav, scientific corruption fame Karunanidhi. Why they are grumbling now about the reception accorded to Sasikala? The AIADMK is afraid of her massive and powerful community backing. In our country, people who indulge in corruption have community and caste basis support and they can’t be finished off politically. 2G scam Kanimozhi and A Raja were given grand reception in Chennai after her release from Delhi Tihar jail but she was not convicted like Sasikala. Kanimozhi was exonerated in the case. Sasikala was convicted for the offence and was released after duly punished. DMK had created the history of giving grand reception from Airport to her house. Karunanidhi had set several bad traditions and pursued practices from day one of his public life”.