Says his decision to quit politics was “purely based” on the grounds of health; hands over his resignation letter to Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal

The chairman of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) presidium and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Panruti S. Ramachandran on Tuesday announced retirement from active politics. The 76-year-old Ramachandran, who was elected from the Alandur constituency in the 2011-Assembly elections, also decided to quit the post of Member of Legislative Assembly.

After handing over his resignation letter to Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal, Mr Ramchandran told The Hindu that his decision to quit politics was “based purely” on health grounds.

In his letter addressed to DMDK founder-president Vijayakant, he stated that he had taken the decision as he had been maintaining indifferent health and his doctor had advised him to take rest. There was no question of joining any other party as “I am retiring from politics,” he said. Asked whether he met Mr. Vijayakant to convey his decision, he replied in the negative. He hastened to add that had he met him, the DMDK president might have tried to prevail upon him.

To persistent questions on the circumstances leading to his decision, he denied reports that he had been sidelined in the party. “While in the DMDK, I would express my opinion on different issues and it was up to Mr. Vijayakant to take decisions.”

He said that he was instrumental in bringing together the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the DMDK for the 2011 Assembly elections.

Mr. Ramachandran, who initially worked as an engineer in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) for eight years, entered the Assembly on the DMK ticket in 1967 from the Panruti constituency. He was elected from the constituency six times – twice (1967 and 1971) on the DMK ticket; thrice (1977, 1980 and 1984) as a nominee of the AIADMK and once (1991) as a candidate of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). He was Minister for 15 years – 1971-1976 in the DMK Ministry headed by M. Karunanidhi and 1977-1987 in the AIADMK Ministry headed by M.G. Ramachandran. In these years, he held the portfolios of Transport, Local Administration, Electricity and Food.

After heading the People’s Liberal Party between 1996 and 2005, Mr. Ramachandran joined the DMDK in September 2005 as chairman of the presidium. Since May 2011, he had been the Deputy Leader of Opposition. In the recently-concluded session of the Assembly, he had praised Chief Minister Jayalalithaa even though the DMDK had no longer a friendly relationship with the ruling party.

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