Chennai: The usual six-hour ride from Bengaluru to Chennai took a little more than 22 hours for former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's close aide VK Sasikala. Starting before 7:30 am on Monday (February 8), Sasikala reached her niece's residence at T Nagar in the city around 6:15 am on Tuesday.
As she entered, she was welcomed by party and family members and the gates were closed for media. Since she entered the Tamil Nadu border around 9:00 am on Monday, she was stopped at various places on her way to Chennai by none other than AIADMK cadres who garlanded her, took selfies and fell before her car.
There was drama enroute with the police and revenue officials stopping her vehicle and asking her to remove the AIADMK flag. She immediately moved to another vehicle, owned by an AIADMK functionary, thereby avoiding the issue of using the party flag.
AIADMK later expelled the vehicle owner Dakshnamoorthy, as well as a few others, for having shared his vehicle with Sasikala. Women with children waited for her along her route. Some women lost gold chains, some lost mobile phones, as well as cash, amid the bustle.
Speaking to media near Vaniyambadi, 100km from Chennai on Monday evening, Sasikala said she will engage herself in serious politics and that she was a slave of their love but not a slave to anybody else. Asked whether she will visit the Jayalalithaa memorial or the AIADMK headquarters, Sasikala asked the reporters to wait and see.
Meanwhile, AIADMK had gagged all its media spokesperson on the issue of Sasikala returning to Chennai. None of the spokespersons participated in any debate in the evening news channels as they were banned from speaking on the issue.
Fisheries minister D Jayakumar alone said that there was no doubt that Sasikala will not be allowed to return to the party. He called Sasikala and her supporters as the "B-Team of DMK".
(with inputs from Prakash Pandian and Nanda)