Eight months is a long time, at least in the state of Tamil Nadu where the political tide turns faster than the sea waves.
The sacked AIADMK leader, VK Sasikala, on Thursday left for Bengaluru by road, to report at the Bengaluru's Parappana Agrahara Prison as her parole for visiting her husband in a Chennai hospital, ended on Friday. On all five days of her parole period, she had visited her husband, M Natarajan, who underwent organ transplantations on October 4 and a tracheostomy two days later. It may be recalled that in February this year Sasikala and her kin V.N Sudhakaran and J.Ilavarasi were sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case. Sasikala has been ousted from the post of AIADMK general secretary soon after the merger of Edappadi K.Palaniswamy and O.Panneerselvam factions. She named newborns babies of party workers during her hospital visits by halting her vehicle on the way of Hospital.
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It certainly wasn't what people were used to see with Amma's arrival to any venue, but the sight of people jostling to catch a glimpse of Sasikala despite the police discouraging the crowds says a lot about her clout. Within the first few kilometres from Krishnapriya's residence, Sasikala's vehicle was stopped by women supporters who organised an "aarti" and broke coconuts in front of the auto. Teary-eyed women rushed to the front seat and screamed, "Chinamma, we will be waiting for you".
If that was not enough, just metres ahead of the Raj Bhavan in Chennai, the convoy was stopped by a small group of people with the party flag in their hands raising slogans of Chinnamma.
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Sasikala has never had the god-like image that Jayalalithaa enjoyed. But it was fascinating to see how the party cadres wanted to bid a grand farewell to their leader.
The fans followed her with craze and kept sloganeering till Sasikala and her convoy crossed the Tamil Nadu border. It's hard to say anything at the moment. "When she returns, she will be our leader", one supporter said.
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