Sasikala to be released in August? BJP leader's tweet sets off speculation

Last Updated 25 June 2020, 16:51 IST

A tweet by a BJP leader from Tamil Nadu that V K Sasikala, the long-time aide of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, is likely to be released from the Parapana Agrahara prison in August has set off intense political speculation.

Sasikala, who surrendered before the prison authorities on February 15, 2017, a day after she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case, is currently serving four-year jail term.

Dr Aseervatham Achary, Coordinator of the BJP's Documentation and Library Department, tweeted that Sasikala is likely to be released in August. "Mrs. Sasikala Natarajan is likely to be released from Parapana Agrahara Central Jail, Bangalore on 14th August 2020. Wait for further update," he wrote on his Twitter page.

When contacted, sources in the Karnataka Prison department said no date has been set for Sasikala's release from the Parapana Agrahara prison. However, they said, the AIADMK leader is eligible for remission as she has not availed any leave, except for parole that did not exceed 20 days.

The tweet set off intense speculation about Sasikala's release from the jail.

Her release from the jail could be a major political event in Tamil Nadu as her physical presence in the state might alter political equations, especially when the state stares at assembly elections in the summer of 2021.

Sasikala, who was elected as an AIADMK legislature party leader, could not be sworn in as Chief Minister after incumbent and party colleague O Panneerselvam rebelled against her.

Before she went to jail, Sasikala got Edappadi K Palaniswami elected as the leader of the AIADMK and he eventually became the Chief Minister. However, Edappadi and his colleagues threw Sasikala's nephew from the party and welcomed Panneerselvam back into their fold.

The tweet by a BJP functionary also raises speculation about the saffron party playing the political matchmaker again in Tamil Nadu. BJP, which has no base in the state, wants to strengthen the AIADMK to take on the DMK.

(Published 25 June 2020, 16:48 IST)

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