Sasikala urged the AIADMK cadre to stay united and defeat the DMK in the Assembly Elections.

sasikala wears a mask in car
news Politics Wednesday, March 03, 2021 - 21:37

VK Sasikala, aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on Wednesday announced that she is withdrawing from politics. She, however, urged AIADMK cadre to stay united and defeat the DMK in the upcoming elections. Her statement on Wednesday comes with over a month to go for the Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu, and comes weeks after her release from prison. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Sasikala said, “I never wanted a post or power. I am always thankful for the people of Tamil Nadu. I am staying away from politics and I pray to my sister (late CM Jayalalithaa) and god for establishing a good governance.” She added that "true followers of Amma should strive to fight against the ‘evil’ DMK and aim to establish the government of Amma."

Addressing media persons, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran said,"Sasikala always wanted to quit politics. You can ask me why she then said that she will be involved in active politics. She said so because she expected AIADMK members to stay united at least after that." 

"Hence, she said only if she quits politics, AIADMK will stay united and hence she came to this decision. She has quit so she doesn't want to even claim AIADMK. She quit because no one in AIADMK was united and she didn't want to be the talk of the party," he said. 

Sasikala was officially released from the Parappana Agrahara prison on January 27. On February 8, she took part in a massive roadshow to showcase the support she still commanded, as she travelled from Bengaluru to Chennai. During the journey, while speaking to supporters she had said that she would take a plunge into serious politics. A week after her return she even met supporters and political leaders at her residence in TNagar and urged to always fight for the ideals that former CM Jayalalithaa had fought for. She had also moved court challenging the AIADMK's decision to remove her as party General Secretary. 

However, although Sasikala is barred from contesting elections for a period of six years, her return to politics in Tamil Nadu was expected to make an impact ahead of the Assembly polls. Her decision to withdraw from politics also comes days after reports that the BJP was attempting to accomodate the AMMK - Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran's party - into the AIADMK alliance. However, the AIADMK had refused with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami refusing to allow Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran into the alliance. 

Last seen in public on February 24 - the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa - Sasikala had said, "Supporters of Jayalalithaa should come together and our aim should be what Jayalalithaa had told us- AIADMK should rule the state for 100 years. We should keep that always in our hearts. All AIADMK cadres should ensure the party wins and we should form the government. I believe we will do it, because you are the true supporters of Jayalalithaa. You all will make it possible. Soon I'll meet the public and cadres." 

While the AIADMK maintained that neither Sasikala or her nephew TTV Dhinakaran were welcome back to the party Dhinakaran said he was ready for an alliance if he was the one leading it.

In the days leading up to her release from the prison, speculations were rife that the former aide of Jayalalithaa will join AIADMK. However, the party dismissed her as a spent force. AIADMK even warned its party leader and cadres from meeting her or welcoming her when she returned to Chennai. It even warned Sasikala from using the party flag. However, Sasikala arrived in Chennai in a vehicle that had the party flag hoisted on it. 

Sources had earlier told TNM that Sasikala would have stood a chance to make a political comeback if the AIADMK, under the leadership of Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, lost the Assembly elections.

Following Jayalalithaa's demise in December 2016, Sasikala was elected as General Secretary of the AIADMK a few weeks later. However, following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in February 2017, she had handed over the reins of the party to her nephew TTV Dhinkaran, who was made Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK, while she backed Edappadi Palaniswami as Chief Minister. However, months later, the faction led by Edappadi Palaniswami and the faction led by O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against Sasikala, merged. The merged factions then removed Sasikala and Dhinakaran from their posts in September 2017. It was a pre-condition of O Panneerselvam's faction.