Politics

VK Sasikala pledges to restore Jayalalithaa’s legacy, vows to revive AIADMK

After Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016, she held the role of party temporary general secretary till 2017, the year she put forth Palaniswami's candidature for chief minister

On Sunday, June 16th, 2024, VK Sasikala, a confidante of the late J Jayalalitha, announced her return to active politics, asserting that All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK) recent electoral loss in Lok Sabha Elections 2024, where it lost deposits in many seats and ended in third and fourth place, did not signify its demise.

“It’s not over for AIADMK as my entry has begun,” she declared. Addressing her supporters, Sasikala said, “This is the time I have been telling you, there is no need for any concern.”

AIADMK
Image Source: Wikipedia

Sasikala, who had held the powerful post of general secretary of the party, announced her long-awaited comeback to politics. Party faithful lovingly referred to her as “Chinamma,” or “mother’s younger sister,” she promised to return AIADMK to power in the 2026 Assembly elections. Sasikala denounced the emergence of caste politics inside the AIADMK, stating that she and her followers will not allow such politics to be introduced into the party, which MGR and the late matriarch Amma Jayalalithaa founded.

“For sure, people of Tamil Nadu are on our side…. I am very strong… it cannot be thought that the AIADMK is finished and it is because my entry (re-entry) has commenced,” she said amid rounds of applause.

In 2017, she defended her choice to name Edappadi K Palaniswami as chief minister, arguing that it was a calculated effort to reflect the party’s base in Tamil Nadu’s western area. She also asserted that she would question the government as the ‘opposition party’ when Edappadi K Palaniswami did not ask the right questions, in his capacity as leader of the opposition, as reported by the news agency PTI.

Commitment to Unifying AIADMK

“This is the time I have been telling you, there is no need for any concern,” she said, apparently referring to her stand of ‘unifying’ the party for which she also had toured several regions of the state.

“For sure, people of Tamil Nadu are on our side…. I am very strong… it cannot be thought that the AIADMK is finished because my entry (re-entry) has commenced,” she said amid rounds of applause. To garner support and confront the DMK administration on several topics, including bus procurement, Sasikala intends to set out on a state-wide tour.

She denounced the boycott of the approaching Vikravandi bypoll by the AIADMK and DMDK, saying it was “incorrect under the present circumstances.” Her remarks about the “poll debacle” and “caste-based politics” were directed at Edappadi Palaniswami. After Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016, she held the role of party temporary general secretary till 2017, the year she put forth Palaniswami’s candidature for chief minister.

Following the expulsion of former chief minister O Panneerselvam and his followers, Edappadi Palaniswami became the sole leader of the AIADMK. Years ago, when Panneerselvam and Palaniswami stayed together, Sasikala and her family, including TTV Dhinakaran, who eventually created the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, were among those who were gradually removed from the party.

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