Expelled AIADMK chief VK Sasikala on Wednesday announced her retirement from politics. Releasing a statement, the late former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's confidante said that she has never been after power or position.
"I have never been after power or position even when Jaya (the late former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister 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," she wrote in the letter. "I urge supporters of AIADMK to all work together and defeat the DMK. I urge the party cadre to work to keep her legacy going," she added.
Sasikala was released from jail in January and was widely expected to fight for her position in the run-up to Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. She had also taken steps to reclaim her position as AIADMK chief by filing a fresh application against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
For the uninitiated, she had stepped in as AIADMK chief after Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016. However, she was sentenced to a four-year jail term for corruption. Before her term, Sasikala picked Edappadi K Palaniswami to take over as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, but he rebelled against her and joined hands with Panneerselvam. They both then removed her from the party.
Meanwhile, the BJP was keen to rope in the Sasikala faction in the alliance ahead of the polls. However, Palaniswami communicated to the BJP national leadership that his party will not have any truck with the "Mannargudi Family" led by Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2. Polls will be held for 234 seats in the state with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other.