'Was Never After Power or Prestige': In U-turn Ahead of Tamil Nadu Elections, Sasikala Quits Politics

Poornima Murali
·2-min read

VK Sasikala, the sacked chief of the ruling AIADMK who was released from jail recently, in a letter on Wednesday said that she is quitting politics. This comes days after her nephew TTV Dhinakaran had told reporters in Tenkasi that Sasikala will certainly contest upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

“Our target is to defeat common enemy DMK. I have never gone after power or prestige. I thank all followers and supporters of ‘Amma’ (Jayalalithaa),” she wrote, urging AIADMK to stay united and fight the DMK.

Appalled by her decision, Dhinakaran said, “I came to know a while ago. Chinamma had called me. I tried to convince her to not take the decision. However, she had made up her mind. She said this is right. I don’t speak for her. Whatever she wanted to convey is there in the letter.”

Recently, on J Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary, the sacked AIADMK chief had urged all followers of the late icon to unite and join forces against the common enemy, the DMK, in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

“Amma’s followers should unite and fight for victory. In the forthcoming elections, our target is victory. Very soon I will meet cadre and the public,” Sasikala had said.

Sasikala was released from prison after a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case that had primarily convicted Jayalalithaa among others. Sasikala’s exit from prison just ahead of elections had set fire to speculation that she might merge with the AIADMK.

It was widely rumoured that the BJP was engineering a merger between Sasikala and the top brass of the AIADMK, headed by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam.

In her statement, the sacked AIADMK leader said she would continue to remain loyal to the sentiments of Jayalalithaa, just like she had been, as a “sister” to the late icon.

Several AIADMK leaders, including KP Munusamy, gave out statements sympathising with Sasikala, although they were apprehensive of Dhinakaran’s move, who appears set on fomenting trouble for the ruling party.

The main opposition DMK, which is out of power for almost ten years is leaving no stone unturned to win polls in April. The AIADMK, which snatched the reins of power in 2011 from archrival DMK, emerged victorious again in 2016 under Jayalalithaa’s leadership.