Tamil Nadu

Sasikala to stay away from politics

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s close aide V.K. Sasikala. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

V.K.Sasikala, aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa and former interim general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), on Wednesday night announced her decision to step aside from politics.

In a two-page statement, Ms. Sasikala did not give any reason for her decision. However, she called upon “true followers” of Jayalalithaa to “remain united, act wisely and work hard” during the Assembly election so that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), “our common enemy and evil force, as identified by Amma [Jayalalithaa], does not return to power and the golden rule of Amma is established in Tamil Nadu”.

Thanking all those who had shown “affection and concern” towards her, Ms. Sasikala claimed she was “never keen on occupying any office or position of authority. I will ever remain indebted to Puratchi Thalaivi’s [Jayalalithaa’s] affectionate followers and people of Tamil Nadu”. She added that she would “continue to pray [to] Puratchi Thalaivi and god for the establishment of the golden reign of Amma”.

Her announcement came as a surprise considering that she has been very keen on playing an active political role after her release from the Bengaluru prison, where she served a four-year term in a corruption case.

On February 8-9, when she returned to Chennai, her journey lasted nearly 23 hours, and she received an “enthusiastic welcome” from her followers. A couple of vehicles used by her had even sported the flag of the AIADMK. On the occasion of Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary on February 24, she made a fresh call for unity to the departed leader’s “genuine followers”, which the AIADMK promptly rebuffed. She added then that she would soon meet the followers and the public. Press releases, issued by her office located at her present residence in T. Nagar here in the last one week, identified her as the general secretary of the AIADMK.

 

Asked for a reaction, T.T.V. Dhinakaran, Ms. Sasikala’s nephew and general secretary of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), told reporters that he had tried to persuade her from taking back her decision but she remained firm.

Ms. Sasikala’s decision comes against the backdrop of a reported suggestion by the Bharatiya Janata Party to the AIADMK to take the AMMK on board its alliance. The issue was reportedly discussed during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent late-night meeting with the AIADMK’s top leaders — Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam. However, a section of the AIADMK was reluctant to take the proposal forward.

A long-time observer of the AIADMK compared Ms. Sasikala’s move with the decision of Janaki Ramachandran, wife of the AIADMK founder and former chief minister M.G. Ramachandran, to retire from politics in 1989 and said that while the latter had taken the step only after her faction lost badly in the 1989 Assembly election that saw the return of the DMK to power, the former’s decision came well ahead of the Assembly poll.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 4:57:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sasikala-to-stay-away-from-politics/article33982618.ece

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