Former AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala’s release from the Parappana Agrahara prison in Karnataka, has set in motion a series of reactions in Tamil Nadu. Speaking to the media, her nephew and AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran pointed out that these ‘chemical changes’ will only increase as she arrives in the state on February 7 and that it will reflect in the results of the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.

Amongst the latest ‘reactions’ from the AIADMK was, temporarily closing the Jayalalithaa memorial that was opened in Chennai on January 27, which happened to coincide with Sasikala’s formal release from prison. Though she completed her four-year prison sentence in the disproportionate assets case in Bengaluru on that day; she was being treated for Covid-19 at the city’s Victoria hospital and is currently in quarantine.

The Jayalalithaa memorial has been temporarily closed, according to the AIADMK, to complete some pending construction work within the premises. Late Tuesday, the public works department (PWD) temporarily closed entry for the public at the ₹80-crore memorial built for Jayalalithaa on the Marina beach citing unfinished work just a week after it was opened.

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“The work will take at least 15 days to complete,” said a senior PWD official not wishing to be named. Though the main structure built like a phoenix is complete, adjacent to it works are on for a museum and an educational room for students. “It is difficult to complete this work with crowds thronging,” AIADMK spokesperson D Jayakumar said at a press conference on Wednesday. He said that it was inaugurated because the first phase of the mausoleum was complete.

Sasikala’s supporters allege that the closure is being deliberately planned to prevent her from visiting the memorial. Ahead of her imprisonment in February 2017, she had gone to Jayalalithaa’s grave and took three vows – promising to overcome hurdles, treachery and the plot against her.

“From Hosur to her T Nagar house she will receive a grand welcome,” Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran told reporters. “We will bring a major change to Tamil Nadu,” said Dhinakaran who floated Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) with a breakaway faction of Sasikala’s supporters who want her to reclaim the AIADMK. Sasikala also plans to file a curative petition to claim the AIADMK’s iconic ‘two-leaves’ symbol. The AIADMK has declared that Sasikala who was expelled from the party in 2017 will not be taken back into the fold.

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