Chennai: Sidelined AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, out of jail on a five-day parole, today visited her husband M Natarajan, who is recovering at a hospital here after undergoing a liver and kidney transplant surgery.
Sasikala, who was removed from the AIADMK last month after the party factions led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and now Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam respectively united, was with Natarajan at the hospital for about two hours, sources said, adding that a tight security cover was put in place at the hospital in view of her visit.
Before being imprisoned, she used to be surrounded by partymen and loyalists raising slogans praising her as “chinnamma”. Though AIADMK workers had gathered in good numbers at the hospital as well as at her niece’s residence with banners hailing her “homecoming”, the level of exuberance was comparatively low.
Sasikala was accompanied by her relatives during her visit to the hospital, they said. Later, she returned to her niece Krishnapriya's residence in the city. The beleaguered AIADMK leader's car briefly halted in front of a Ganesha temple in Kotturpuram, where she prayed from inside the vehicle as used to be done by late party supremo J Jayalalithaa.
He said steps would be taken to seek an extension of Sasikala's parole since she could not interact with Natarajan as the latter had undergone tracheostomy and could not verbally communicate because of that.
V Maithreyan, a Rajya Sabha MP of the ruling camp, while replying to a reporter's question, ruled out any political change due to the visit of Sasikala as the "MLAs and people" were "very clear" (that she should not be in the AIADMK).
Private security personnel, including several bouncers and some plainclothesmen, could be seen in and around the T Nagar residence of Sasikala's niece. A police patrol vehicle was also stationed in the vicinity.
Sasikala has been lodged in the Parapana Agrahara central jail in Bengaluru since February after the Supreme Court upheld her conviction by a special court in a disproportionate assets case.
Due to the tough parole conditions, Sasikala refrained from interacting with the partymen during her visit to the hospital. The hospital, meanwhile, said in a statement that Natarajan (74) was recovering and that he was "awake and oriented and on ventilator support through tracheostomy, which was performed on October 6".
Sasikala arrived here on Friday from Bengaluru after being granted parole for five days. Natarajan was admitted at the liver intensive care unit of the Gleneagles Global Health City under the care of a team of doctors led by Professor Mohamed Rela, the hospital said.
It may be recalled that Sasikala had sought parole for 15 days, but was only granted five days with tough conditions, including that she would not get involved in any political, party-related or other public activities. She is only allowed to visit the hospital where her husband is admitted and stay at the residence of her relative as mentioned in her parole application.
Sasikala has also been restricted from interacting with the media.