VK Sasikala’s sudden announcement to stay away from politics, barely a month after reaching Chennai amid a grand welcome has led to an unexpected twist in Tamil Nadu politics, as this comes in the run-up to the crucial Assembly poll on April 6th. Expressing shock, her nephew and AMMK General Secretary TTV Dinakaran said it would be a setback. The BJP, however, welcomed the move, via a statement issued by state president Dr L Murugan.
The return of the ousted AIADMK General Secretary and late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s aide to Chennai on February 8th, following her incarceration, was keenly watched, owing to the impact it would have on the AIADMK and its allies.
Aside from the clout she once enjoyed within the party, she also hails from an influential community, which has its strongholds in Southern Tamil Nadu. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam also belongs to the same community.
The nearly 24-hour drive from Bengaluru to Chennai (which usually takes no longer than 6 hours) and the welcome accorded to her along with multiple stops on the way, had created the impression of her impending re-entry into the political arena.
Voices from the opposition DMK’s first family were also among those who predicted trouble for the AIADMK, after Sasikala’s release from the Parappana Agrahara prison. While DMK President MK Stalin had hinted about the things falling into place after someone from Bengaluru arrives, his son Udhayanidhi blatantly said that Sasikala would create double for the ruling duo EPS and OPS.
Though AIADMK leaders were initially hesitant to comment to Sasikala’s arrival and the scenario that would follow, later Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami made it clear that there was absolutely no possibility of her re-induction into the party or a possibility of an alliance. The cadre who put up posters hailing Sasikala and welcoming her were also instantly booted out from the party, in a stern message.