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Expelled AIADMK Chief VK Sasikala Quits Politics Ahead Of Tamil Nadu Polls

Expelled AIADMK chief VK Sasikala has quit politics, a letter said (File)


VK Sasikala, the expelled former chief of Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK, who was released from jail in January and was widely expected to fight for her position in the run-up to Assembly elections, has quit politics and public life.

In a printed letter released Wednesday night, Sasikala – who was a close aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and spent four years in a Bengaluru jail on corruption charges – wrote: “I have never been after power or position even when Jaya (J Jayalalithaa) was alive. Won’t do that after she is dead. (I am) quitting politics but I pray that her party wins, and her legacy goes on.”

“I urge supporters of AIADMK to all work together and defeat the DMK (the primary opposition). I urge the party cadre to work to keep her legacy going,” she added.

Earlier this month, Sasikala, 66, took a legal step towards reclaiming her position in the ruling party months ahead of the polls, filing a fresh application in a Chennai court against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, in an attempt to stake a claim for the AIADMK top post.

Sasikala had stepped in as chief of the party after Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016 and was set to take her post when she was sentenced to a four-year jail term for corruption.

Before leaving for jail, she handpicked EPS to take over as Chief Minister but in her absence, he patched up with OPS – who had rebelled against Sasikala’s leadership – and they both had her removed from the post and the party.

Her return earlier this month has once again stirred turmoil in the party that has never quite recovered from its leadership vacuum after the death of the charismatic and powerful Jayalalithaa.

The Chief Minister had in January, after a meeting with the BJP leadership, declared that Sasikala would not be taken back into the party.

But since her return, he has been noticeably silent on his former mentor and has targeted her nephew TTV Dhinakaran instead. His stance revived speculation that he could make up with Sasikala, known as “chinnamma (aunt)” by AIADMK cadre who referred to Jayalalithaa as “amma (mother)”.

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