Former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader V K Sasikala, who was recently released from the Bangalore Central Prison following the completion of her four-year sentence in a disproportionate assets case, returned to Tamil Nadu on Monday morning in a vehicle sporting the AIADMK flag.
Sasikala, a close aide of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, crossed into Tamil Nadu at Athipalli in the Krishnagiri district bordering Karnataka around 10 am, as her supporters broke into celebrations, dancing to drum beats and showering flower petals on her convoy, reported PTI.
Her return to Tamil Nadu is being watched keenly as it comes at a time when the state assembly elections are likely to be held in the next few months.
She had left from the resort on Bengaluru outskirts where she had been staying, earlier in the day, accompanied by her nephew and general secretary of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) T T V Dhinakaran, in a convoy of around 200 vehicles.
Before leaving, Sasikala, wearing a face mask, offered floral tributes to a portrait of Jayalalithaa.
Clad in a green saree, Jayalalithaa's favourite colour, she travelled in a car that sported the AIADMK flag over the bonnet, disregarding the warning by the ruling party in Tamil Nadu against its use by non-members.
The AIADMK had recently asked the Tamil Nadu police to restrain 'non-members' from using its flag, following Sasikala's travel in a car sporting the flag on her discharge from a hospital in Bengaluru on 31 January.
However, Dhinakaran defended the move, saying she continues to be the AIADMK general secretary, pointing to petitions pending in court over her 'expulsion'.
'Chinnamma', as she is fondly addressed by her followers, was greeted by a large gathering of people who waved both the AIADMK and AMMK flags as she crossed into Tamil Nadu at the Athipallai border.
Sasikala, who had started her sentence at the central prison in February 2017, was released on 27 January but remained at the Government Victoria Hospital, where she had been admitted after testing positive for COVID-19 while in judicial custody.
She was discharged from the hospital on 31 January, after which she stayed at a resort about 35 km from Bengaluru.
(With inputs from PTI)