The AIADMK and her breakaway AMMK party should contest this year's Tamil Nadu elections together, VK Sasikala, the sacked chief of the ruling outfit released from jail last month, said on Wednesday, paying tributes to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on her birth anniversary.
"As our Amma (Ms Jayalalithaa) wished, our government should be there even after 100 years. For that to happen, we should contest elections together. I wish for the same. I will meet the cadres and people soon," VK Sasikala said.
Ms Sasikala's party, which is in a tussle with the AIADMK for J Jayalalithaa's legacy, honoured the ruling party's icon on her birth anniversary. AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran was also present.
Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam paid tributes to a statue of former Ms Jayalalithaa at AIADMK headquarters.
Ms Jayalalithaa, who was born in 1948, served five terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for over 14 years between 1991 and 2016 and had a huge following. In 1982, when M G Ramachandran was the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa joined the AIADMK, the party he founded.
Earlier this month, Sasikala, 66, took a legal step towards reclaiming her position in Tamil Nadu's ruling party months ahead of the polls, filing a fresh application in a Chennai court against Mr Palaniswami and Mr Panneerselvam, in an attempt to stake a claim for the AIADMK top post.
Ms Sasikala, a close aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, stepped in as chief of the party after her death and was just short of taking on the post of Chief Minister when she was sentenced to a four-year jail term for corruption.
Before leaving for jail, she handpicked EPS to take over as Chief Minister but in her absence, he patched up with OPS - who had rebelled against Sasikala's leadership - and they both had her removed from the post and the party.
Her return earlier this month has once again stirred turmoil in the party that has never quite recovered from its leadership vacuum after the death of the charismatic and powerful Jayalalithaa.
The Chief Minister had in January, after a meeting with the BJP leadership, declared that Sasikala would not be taken back into the party. But since her return, he has been noticeably silent on his former mentor and has targeted her nephew TTV Dhinakaran instead. His stance revived speculation that he could make up with Sasikala, known as "Chinnamma (aunt)" by AIADMK cadre who referred to Jayalalithaa as "Amma (mother)".