In an interesting development, V K Sasikala, confidante of late J Jayalalithaa, has thanked President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for paying ‘personal’ condolences to her on the death of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
In separate letters to the three leaders, Sasikala said that she was ‘overwhelmed’ by their visits.
The letter becomes significant in view of the fact that Sasikala is reportedly working to develop a wider acceptability for herself both within and outside the AIADMK as the political heir of Jayalalithaa.
Copies of the three letters, dated December 18, were released to the media by the the AIADMK headquarters today.
“It was extremely kind of you Sir, to have visited Chennai and paid your condolences to me personally over the former CM’s death,” she said in the letter to the President.
“I was given to understand that Your Excellency’s journey to Chennai was a little arduous because of some flight problem; but you were undeterred. Your visit has brought great consolation to me at a personal level and to the millions of Tamil masses and the people in the rest of the country,” she said.
Mukherjee’s visit “overwhelms me” in this hour of personal grief, Sasikala said. In her communication to Modi, she described his expressing condolences to her a “noble gesture”.
The Prime Minister had spent a few minutes with an emotional Sasikala then, consoling her by placing his hand on her head. “Your visit brought great consolation to me in my moment of personal sorrow and to the millions of masses of Tamil Nadu. It was extremely kind of you to have come down to Chennai for sharing with me a few moments on the tragic occasion,” she said in her letter to Modi.
Sasikala expressed “many thanks” for Modi’s visit and his expression of sympathy to the people of the state and to her personally, “in our moment of inexplicable grief and sorrow”. Sasikala also thanked Gandhi, saying it was “extremely kind” of him to have flown down here to pay his last respects to Jayalalithaa.
“Your words of sympathy to me, in my hour of personal grief, overwhelmed me in every way,” she told Gandhi, who was also present when Jayalalithaa was laid to rest at the MGR Memorial site at Marina Beach. The letter was written on Sasikala’s letterhead, with the accompanying address of Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence.
The President, Prime Minister and Gandhi had paid floral tributes to Jayalalithaa whenher body was kept in state at the Rajaji Hall here on December 6, before she was laid to rest later that day.
(With PTI inputs)