The ruling AIADMK of Tamil Nadu seems to have been scaling down its harsh attitude against former boss VK Sasikala. This is about four years after it expelled her. Since she discharged from prison a couple of days ago, her protege-turned-baiters have mostly been quiet, aside from occasional comments.
This may represent a re-calibration of the role of the party in the run-up to the state assembly polls. It is, however, provided that among the main elements of the Tamil Nadu electorate, she remains to experience political leverage.
Yet, it is also abundantly clear that TTV Dhinakaran, her nephew and legislator, is on the firing line.
There is more you need to know about AIADMK reactions these days. Ms. Sasikala returned to Chennai just a few days ago after completing her prison term in the Bengaluru case. She was a close advisor to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and a recognized power center before her conviction in an excessive wealth case,
Just three months before the state went to the polls, her return was marked by a clear display of power, with hundreds assembled in Bengaluru and Tamil Nadu to celebrate her return. Despite objections by the ruling party, she showcased the AIADMK flag on her vehicle even as she appealed for a united fight.
Ms. Sasikala, known to her followers as Chinnamma (aunt), was expelled as the party’s general secretary in 2017. After its opposing factions headed by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) and incumbent Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) agreed to join forces, its deputy Mr. Dhinakaran was also expelled.
Mr. Panneerselvam was the go-to man of Ms. Jayalalithaa who briefly substituted her each time she had to step aside as Chief Minister following convictions for legal purposes. Even though Mr. Panneerselvam was declared Chief Minister after her death in 2016, Mr. Palaniswami, specially selected by Ms. Sasikala just before going to jail, unseated him.
Yesterday, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar refused to go soft on her saying, “No, no. We are totally against their family.” But that’s about it.
Yet, Chief Minister Palaniswami recently slammed her nephew. “TTV Dhinakaran was not in the party for ten years. When Amma (Ms. Jayalalithaa) was around, he was removed from its primary membership. Due to circumstances, he re-joined. He is conspiring now. AIADMK will never accept. How many ever avatars he takes, Dhinakaran will not be able to capture the party,” he said.
“OPS and EPS will come and fall at her (Ms. Sasikala’s) feet. That will happen,” said Dr. Ram Karthik, a functionary of the Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazagam, a party Mr. Dhinakaran formed in 2018 following his ouster from AIADMK.