CHENNAI: In a significant development that comes as a boost to the ruling AIADMK ahead of Assembly elections, VK Sasikala, the one-time confidante of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, has announced that she is “staying away” from politics. The dramatic announcement, made late on Wednesday evening, puts an end to speculation about her role in the State’s politics in the run up to Assembly elections.
Around 9.30 pm, a statement was issued to journalists waiting outside her T Nagar residence. In it, Sasikala appealed to all loyalists of Amma (former CM J Jayalalithaa) to unite against “the evil force that is the DMK”. She said she would pray for “Amma government to return to power in the State.” AIADMK leaders have welcomed the statement, and analysts predict the decision could substantially favour the ruling party in the elections.
While Sasikala did not make a public appearance, in stark contrast to her processional return to the city from Bangalore prison a month back, her nephew TTV Dhinakaran addressed the media. Dhinakaran said he had tried his best to persuade Sasikala to reconsider the decision. “I met her earlier in the day to discuss her position on the upcoming elections. Later, she told me she was going to break the news about her stepping down on Jaya TV,” he said.
“Sasikala believes her stepping down would unite Jayalalithaa’s supporters in the election and avoid chasms.” KP Munusamy, Deputy Coordinator of the AIADMK welcomed the decision. Talking to Express, he said: “Though the decision to quit politics is the personal decision of Sasikala, she has expressed her wish for the establishment of Amma (Jayalalithaa) government even after the Assembly elections.
She was with Amma for a long time. Now, Sasikala might have made this announcement out of her affection for Amma. So, we are happy about her decision.” Her decision, Munusamy said, “shows that souls of MGR and Amma are still protecting AIADMK.”
AIADMK, BJP welcome decision
Dhinakaran hinakaran asserted that the AMMK would continue its political journey by contesting the ensuing Assembly elections. Asked how the Amma government could be formed as per the wish of Sasikala when the AMMK, too, has decided to contest in the elections, Dhinakaran had no straight answer. He said, “I have been maintaining that the AMMK will continue to function as a different political entity. I never said the AMMK will merge with the AIADMK.”
This is not the first time Sasikala expressed her decision to keep away from politics. Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK in 2011 by Jayalalithaa, and within 100 days, she was taken back into the Poes Garden residence after she tendered an apology. In that letter, Sasikala had said she was not interested in joining politics nor did she aspire for any party post but would remain a sister to Akka (Jayalalithaa).
A few political observers feel that Sasikala’s decision could be a shrewd move taken in anticipation of the developments that follow after the Assembly elections. “Since she has taken this decision with a view to check the DMK, she may return to protect the party if her wish is not fulfilled after the elections. So, her present decision may be a comma, but not a full stop.”
Sasikala was released from Bengaluru prison on January 27 and she arrived in Chennai on February 9. After that she remained silent for over three weeks, though leaders of many organisations, political parties and individuals called on her. Nearly after three weeks, her camp office at T Nagar started issuing statements describing her as Chinnamma and as general secretary of the AIADMK.
Wholeheartedly welcoming Sasikala’s decision, BJP State president L Murugan on Wednesday said, “Sasikala has handed out a big disappointment to those who were dreaming to catch power in Tamil Nadu by creating a confusion in politics using her.”
Decision welcomed by AIADMK,BJP
Chennai: KP Munusamy, Deputy Coordinator of the AIADMK, welcomed the decision. Talking to Express, he said: “Though the decision to quit politics is the personal decision of Sasikala, she has expressed her wish for the establishment of Amma (Jayalalithaa) government even after the Assembly elections.
We are happy about her decision.” Her decision, Munusamy said, “shows that souls of MGR and Amma are still protecting AIADMK.” Meanwhile, wholeheartedly welcoming her decision, BJP State president L Murugan said, “Sasikala has handed out a big disappointment to those dreaming to catch power by creating a confusion using her.”