With Jaya's car & AIADMK flag, Sasikala sends a message

By using Jaya's car and AIADMK flag, Sasikala sends political message

Sunday's move also led to speculation whether she will function as a separate entity

Sasikala, who walked to the car from the hospital building, was given a rousing welcome by her supporters. Credit: PTI

Sending out a strong political message immediately after her discharge from Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, V K Sasikala on Sunday left the hospital premises in a car, once used by her friend J Jayalalithaa, bearing the flag of the ruling AIADMK.

She was discharged from the hospital on Sunday morning and Sasikala will be staying at a bungalow in Bengaluru for the next one week as per Covid-19 protocol. Sasikala is expected to travel to Chennai after completing the home quarantine procedure. 

Read | Sasikala discharged from Victoria Hospital

Sasikala, who walked to the car from the hospital building, was given a rousing welcome by her supporters who were lined up on both sides of the road. The car, a Toyota Landcruiser, twas one used by the late Jayalalithaa when she was Chief Minister. 

Sasikala had used the same car for two months – from Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016 to February 2017 till she surrendered before authorities at Parappana Agrahara prison.

The move by Sasikala to use Jayalalithaa's vehicle and the AIADMK flag is a clear indication that she would plunge into active politics and “retrieve” the AIADMK, which she led for a brief period after Jayalalithaa's death. 

However, Sasikala was removed as interim general secretary of the AIADMK by the new leadership – O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami – in September 2017.

Sasikala has challenged her removal from the post in the courts and she is likely to pursue the cases once she is back in Chennai, probably next week. 

Sunday's move also led to speculation whether she will function as a separate entity, distancing, for now, from her nephew T T V Dhinakaran, who runs Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).

For the record, Dhinakaran said Sasikala was still the “General Secretary” of the AIADMK and her vehicle bore the party flag since she was “in the position” to use it. The developments come as AIADMK continues to maintain that Sasikala's release from the jail will have no impact on its government and the party.

Her presence in Chennai is expected to create more ripples in Tamil Nadu politics as the state stares at its most crucial polls in recent years. 

Also Read | 'Sasikala release not to have impact on TN politics'

Political observers feel Sasikala is ready for the “fight” and might get support from senior leaders of the party who are sidelined and are upset with the AIADMK's decision to align with the BJP.

66-year-old Sasikala was rushed to the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital on January 20 after she complained of breathlessness. 

A day later, she was shifted to the Victoria Hospital where she tested positive for Covid-19. She was released from her hospital bed on January 27 following completion of her four-year prison term in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.