Former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala was discharged from hospital in Bengaluru on Sunday, after she recovered from coronavirus, PTI reported. On Wednesday, she was released from jail after serving a four-year sentence in a corruption case.
Despite restrictions, several of Sasikala’s supporters gathered to congratulate her at the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, where she was admitted after testing positive for Covid-19 while under judicial custody, The News Minute reported. The former AIADMK leader was taken to a resort in Bengaluru, where she will quarantine for seven days, ANI reported, quoting her nephew TTV Dhinakaran.
Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was convicted in a disproportionate assets case on February 14, 2017. She was released after paying a Rs 10-crore fine, failing which her imprisonment would have been extended by 13 more months. She had tested positive for the coronavirus on January 20, just days ahead of her scheduled release.
In an apparent political signal, Sasikala left the hospital in a vehicle carrying an AIADMK flag, according to The News Minute. Months ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, it held significance as earlier this month, the state’s Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had ruled out any possibility of her rejoining the party. The Bharatiya Janata Party has been reportedly pushing its partner to let Sasikala back into the party fold to avoid a split of votes that could benefit rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Meanwhile, on Saturday, BJP President JP Nadda reiterated that they will fight the state elections in alliance with AIADMK.
Palaniswami had fallen at Sasikala’s feet after she anointed him as the chief minister in 2017. However, this happened before she was convicted. Later, the party had split into two factions, each led by Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had sought Sasikala’s removal as the party chief. Following months of political drama, the two factions merged in August 2017 and Sasikala was sacked from the party.