Chennai: With J Jayalalithaa no more, her close companion Sasikala Natarajan, bored a sombre-look and stood firmly near her body at Rajaji Hall on Tuesday.
The close confidante of Jayalalithaa was the only one seen near Jayalalithaa's body, who was attending the various personalities, who had come to pay their last tributes to the former AIADMK supremo.
Clad in a black saree, Sasikala, who remained a wall of support for Jayalalithaa through thick and thin, remained beside the casket of the departed leader as people filed past it paying their homage.
Sasikala, who earned the sobriquet of 'Jayalalithaa's shadow' by detractors was today looking lost even as she acknowledged the condolences of visitors.
The relations between the two had hit a rock bottom in 2011 when Jayalalithaa had on expelled her close aide Sasikala and scores of her relatives following allegations that they interfered in the affairs of the party and government.
However, in a turn of events, Sasikala had on March 28, 2012 written to issued a statement through AIADMK-promoted Jaya TV, stating she had snapped ties with all those who had "betrayed" Jayalalithaa.
Accepting the explanation, Jayalalithaa had on March 31, announced that the disciplinary action against Sasikala was cancelled, signalling a patch-up.
According to The Indian Express report, Sasikala or M Thambidurai is most likely to be elected as the AIADMK general secretary.
Speaking to the leading newspaper, a AIADMK MP said, “Sasikala will be the power centre who will have the controls from the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa.”
Sasikala had been Jayalalithaa's closest companion for three decades. She became an acknowledged power centre in the AIADMK because of her proximity to Jayalalithaa and insiders say that her opinions counted towards the selection of ministers and party candidates.
Sasikala is also one of the main accused in a case that alleges that Jayalalithaa misused her office from 1991-1996 to collect assets worth Rs 66 crores that cannot be accounted for.
Ever since Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on September 22, Sasikala remained with her, giving the ailing AIADMK supremo much needed emotional support.
Sasikala would usually be seen seated in the rear seat of the vehicle, merely watching Jayalaithaa's electoral addresses, and providing her 'akka' (sister) with assistance.
She had come in contact with Jayalalithaa in the 80s as a video company owner, getting the leader's various events covered.
Hailing from a humble background from Mannargudi in south Tamil Nadu, 'Chinnamma' as Sasikala was known in her circles gradually gained acceptance in the Veda Nilayam residence, and even wielded influence in AIADMK at one point of time.z