Chennai: The year long (2021-22) golden jubilee celebrations of the AIADMK's founding began on Sunday, and it was marked by a renewed and an open attempt by VK Sasikala, confidante of late party supremo J Jayalalithaa, to get back control of the party by harping on ''unity'' mantra.
Sasikala's strong pitch for joining forces for the sake of the ''party and people'' was, however, rejected by the AIADMK, which reiterated that there is no place for her in the party.
She unfurled the AIADMK flag at the T Nagar memorial of party founder and late Chief Minister MG Ramachandran in Chennai and a plaque unveiled on the occasion addressed her as party ''general secretary,'' which was strongly opposed by the main opposition party.
Recalling a didactic Tamil film song ''Kanpona Pokkiley'' in a MGR flick, which cautions against choosing a path based on whims and fancies rather than wisdom and reason, Sasikala said, "you decide to whom this is applicable today."
Apparently, the message was to the AIADMK brass, steered by O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami, both former Chief Ministers. Addressing supporters at MGR's Ramapuram Garden residence, Sasikala said had the party been in power in the golden jubilee year, it would have been a proud moment, in honour of both MGR and ''Amma.''
Ahead of the start of her prison term in 2017, she ensured that the AIADMK was in the saddle of power in Tamil Nadu, she said. Recalling her announcement of staying away from politics ahead of the Assembly poll in April this year, she said she took that stand as she wanted the party to be not affected in any manner whatsoever.
"It is the responsibility of all of us to guard the party. The need of the hour is unity," she said adding the divisions among them facilitated ''our enemies,'' seen as a pointer to arch rival DMK, which captured power in Tamil Nadu after a gap of 10 years.
Sasikala said that if attention was not paid to the welfare of the people, the party and cadres, "we will be thrown away, whatever top positions one may hold and all of us should realise this truth."
"For the sake of the party, the people and workers, this is the time to stand together."
Reacting to Sasikala's overtures, AIADMK senior leader D Jayakumar said she would not be taken back into the party. "No one can touch the AIADMK," he asserted. Mocking at Sasikala, Jayakumar, referring to her supporters hailing her as ''revolutionary mother'' wanted to know the kind of revolution she ushered in. "What revolution has she done?" he asked adding all that she did was only for the sake of her family.