Sasikala hints at efforts to regain control of AIADMK, a political comeback

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Chennai, May 30 (PTI) V K Sasikala, eased out from the AIADMK years ago, has hinted at resumption of efforts to regain control of the party, a political comeback, by telling her supporters that there would soon be a 'good decision.' After announcing ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls, that she would stay away from politics, Sasikala said she could not see the party getting ruined due to 'infighting.' Her reference to the fued, though has no direct mention of the AIADMK or its leadership, it is seen as a pointer to alleged differences between top two leaders, K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam.

Confidante of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Sasikala's brief conversation with two of her loyalists over phone has surfaced and this has dropped hints about her rethink.

In the first audio clip she could be heard saying, 'we will for sure streamline the party...certainly, I will come.' In the second, she could be heard telling the supporter that the party, apparently a reference to AIADMK, was built through hard work of leaders including her and it was anguishing to see 'them fighting,' and she could not be a mute spectator to the party getting ruined due to it.

Hence, Sasikala said she would come soon and meet supporters after the second wave of coronavirus faded. The party could be brought back to a good shape and there was no need to worry.

There would soon be a good decision and she shall come soon, she said.

This is seen as a hint at resumption of efforts to regain control of AIADMK, which she and her nephew Dhinakaran lost years ago, after she was imprisoned in 2017 February following conviction in a disproportionate assets case.

Known as EPS and OPS, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam do not reportedly see eye to eye and they have been issuing statements individually on political matters but give joint- statements on party matters.

AIADMK spokesperson and state joint secretary of legal wing, R M Babu Murugavel said, 'we have got nothing to with her comments.' The reference Sasikala was making, including infighting would have relevance only for the AMMK and and the matter is related to that party alone and the AIADMK has got nothing to do with her comments, he told PTI.

In March this year, Sasikala had said that 'she will stay away from politics,' but would pray for of Jayalalithaa's 'golden rule'.

Sasikala became AIADMK interim general secretary following Jayalalaithaa's demise in 2016 and this appointment was rescinded at a general council meet in 2017 and it also announced invalidation of all the appointments made by Dhinakaran.

This meet also created new posts of coordinator and co- coordinator for OPS and EPS respectively, giving them all powers and their factions came together, while Sasikala and her followers were dislodged.

Since then, the AIADMK had made it clear that there was no scope for rapprochement with Sasikala or her relatives.

Eventually, Dhinakaran floated the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) in 2018 and had said often that retrieval of the AIADMK was his outfit's goal.

A case by Sasikala, challenging the 2017 AIADMK general council resolutions, including removing her from the post of interim general secretary is pending in a city civil court and the matter is posted for next hearing on June 18, her counsel told PTI.

Dhinakaran, who was also previously a petitioner subsequently withdrew as he was leading AMMK.

After completing her four year prison term in Bengaluru, Sasikala, who had a real clout in the AIADMK during the days of Jayalalithaa, returned to Tamil Nadu on February 8, 2021.

On her return, she had indicated that she would be involved in active politics but later announced her decision to stay away. The two audio clips featured in a bulletin in Jaya Plus Tamil television channel, seen as pro-Sasikala besides other channels. PTI VGN ROH ROH

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