Eds: Recasts intro, adds quotes Tirupathur (TN), Feb 8 (PTI) Invoking late AIADMK stalwarts M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, expelled AIADMK leader V K Sasikala on Monday called for unity to jointly defeat the 'common foe' and announced her intention to engage in active politics, four years after she completed a prison term in a corruption case in Bengaluru.
Whenever the party faced challenges, it has risen ike a 'phoenix,' she said alluding to the mythical bird, even as she kept up the suspsense on going to the AIADMK headquarters at Chennai, the building of the ruling dispensation she once controlled.
Both Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa are former Chief Ministers of the state.
In her first comments days after being discharged from a hospital in Bengaluru where she was treated for Covid-19 post her release from the prison, Sasikala asserted she will not be cowed down by 'oppression'.
'I have come out of corona due to divine intervention and the blessings of my akka (elder sister) Puratchi Thalaivi Idaya Deivam (God) Amma who lives in the hearts of the people,' she said addressing supporters here en route to Chennai from Bengaluru.
Jayalalithaa is also addressed as Puratchi Thalaivi, meaning revolutionary leader and Amma.
Sasikala said she would dedicate the rest of her life to ensure Jayalalithaa's oft repeated statement that AIADMK will exist for a 100 years even after her and would follow the principle of 'family is the party, party is the family.' 'Puratchi Thalaivi's children are forever mine too.
The party has faced so many challenges and had risen like a phoenix. In lines with the golden words of Puratchi Thalaivar (Ramachandran), we should stand united...' 'My desire is that we must jointly work to ensure our common foe does not come to the ruling saddle again in Tamil Nadu,' she said without naming anyone.
It was the duty of all to ensure there should be no place for 'divide and rule' by political opponents and the 'grand' movement which was walking the path laid down by Ramachandran, the founder, 'should not collapse due to the whims and fancies of a few,' she added.
She said she will strive for the AIADMK's welfare till her last breath and said workers should remain united and ensure victory in the coming polls.
Any challenges will be faced with the blessings of Jayalalithaa, Sasikala added.
Quoting late Ramachandran, she told her loyalists: 'I am bound by love, to the Tamil ethos and the principles I have embarked upon as well as the people of Tamil Nadu. But I can never be enslaved by oppression.' Later, answering reporters' query if she would visit the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, she said 'please wait and see.' 'Sure, for party workers,' was her response when scribes asked if she would engage in active politics, months ahead of the scheduled Assembly polls in the state.
Earlier, Sasikala returned to Tamil Nadu to a grand reception, days after completing her jail term in Bengaluru in the Rs 66.6 crore disproportionate assets case, amid indications of a confrontation with the ruling party.
She underwent her sentence at the Parapana Agrahara central prison in Bengaluru since February, 2017 and was set free on January 27.
However, she remained at the Government Victoria Hospital, where she had been admitted after testing positive for COVID-19 while under judicial custody.
She was discharged from the hospital on January 31 after which she stayed at a resort, about 35 km from Bengaluru.
On Monday morning, she left for Chennai.
On AIADMK ministers filing police complaint against her use of the ruling party flag on her car, she said 'I think it shows their apprehension.' Responding to Jayalalithaa's memorial in Chennai being closed for maintenance, she said 'the people of Tamil Nadu know very well what all this means.' Asked about supporters' demand to 'wrest control of the AIADMK,' she said 'I will meet you all soon. Will speak in detail then.' PTI SA BN ADMINISTRATOR BN ADMINISTRATOR