Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK has lined up a series of events on February 24 (Wednesday) to mark the 73rd birth anniversary of former party chief and CM J Jayalalithaa. However, all eyes are now on ousted AIADMK leader and Jayalalithaa aide VK Sasikala, who has completed her COVID-19 quarantine period. Her team is also preparing big for the event.
According to multiple media reports, Sasikala's team members are preparing for a grand roadshow on Jayalalithaa's birthday. Notably, Sasikala returned to Tamil Nadu after four years on February 9 to a grand welcome by supporters. Her arrival left the ruling party in jitters ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections. Sasikala was greeted by large number of people at several places en route with firecrackers, garlands, showers of petals and drumbeats.
Wary of the Sasikala factor, the AIADMK has asked its cadres to take a pledge, in the name of Jayalalithaa on her birth anniversary by lighting a lamp in their houses, to guard the party. While Palaniswami is co-coordinator and Chief Minister, Panneerselvam is coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister. The leaders have asked the AIADMK workers to light a lamp at 6 pm and take a vow in Jayalalithaa's name to protect people and guard the AIADMK till their last breath.
While the test of Assembly polls is round the corner in about two months, "enemies and betrayers have joined hands to defeat the AIADMK", top AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami said in a letter to cadres. Vowing to retain power for the second time in a row, they said such 'anti-people' forces must be taught a lesson again by vanquishing them through hardwork, unity and allegiance to the party.
Panneerselvam and Palaniswami asserted that the loyalty of AIADMK workers cannot be 'purchased' through any manner be it allurement or by hurling accusations.
On the other hand, the main opposition DMK, which is out of power for almost ten years is leaving no stone unturned to win polls likely in April. The AIADMK, which snatched the reins of power in 2011 from archrival DMK, emerged victorious again in 2016 under Jayalalithaa's leadership.