The move of expelled All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader V K Sasikala to stay away from politics has fuelled various theories on her decision while the ruling party confined itself to poll related work like holding interview for ticketaspirants.
As AIADMK headquarters was swarmed with ticket aspirants, the party said the scenario is advantageous to it.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam addressing aspirants, cited 'successful implementation of welfare measures' by Chief Minister K Palaniswami. Praising the CM, he said an 'advantageous' situation has emerged for the party.
Asked on Sasikala's move, AIADMK leaders remained tight-lipped. "We have been advised to not speak about it," a former minister and a senior office-bearer said.
The party at the moment is busy finalising seat-sharing arrangement with allies and selecting candidates out of 8,240 applications, he said. Such tasks were expected to be completed in about 3-4 days, he said.
Weeks ahead of Tamil Nadu assembly elections, Sasikala on Wednesday announced "she will stay away from politics," but would pray for the "golden rule" of the late party supremo Jayalalithaa.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami addressing aspirants said a slew of welfare schemes were being implemented which has earned the AIADMK people's good will.
Though the party has been in power for about 10 years there was no anti-incumbency sentiment among the people in view of efficient governance, he said.
Describing the assembly election as 'very important' he said if the party emerged victorious no party would have the power to oppose the AIADMK, he said adding in the same breath, 'we will win for sure.'
He asked party office-bearers and ticket aspirants to work unitedly to post victory. Though several conspiracies were hatched following the demise of 'Amma' Jayalalithaa in 2016, the government successfully completed four years in office, he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party hailed Sasikala's decision and said her exit would help fulfill late chief minister J Jayalalaithaa's dream of a progressive and prosperous Tamil Nadu.
Supporters of Sasikala, meanwhile, turned up at her close relative's house, where she is currently staying, and held placards requesting her to re-consider her move.
Some loyalist claimed in social media that it was a very 'generous' move, and a 'political master stroke' aimed at preventing the DMK from coming to power and at same time one that could help unite pro-AIADMK votes.
They also pointed out that she did not take a stand in favour of her nephew Dhinakaran, who is heading the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam.
Divakaran, Sasikala's brother alleged that Dhinakaran was behind her move and he had thrust his decision on her aunt. This was because Dhinakaran sought primacy in everything, he claimed.
"She (Sasikala) is 67-year old," Divakaran told 'Puthiya Thalaimurai' news channel and underscored that at this age, her health was more important than politics.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan wondered if her decision was aimed at leading a peaceful life or if the BJP indirectly 'intimidated' her or brought 'pressure' on her.
Her announcement also indicated that she wanted the AIADMK and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam to come together, he said.
BJP spokesperson Tirupati Narayanan sought to know the rationale behind blaming his party for every development related to Sasikala.
"The same people said BJP is pressurising AIADMK to accommodate Sasikala in its alliance. When she announced to stay away from politics, they claim that BJP has exerted pressure," he said.
"Our question is what is the meaning, the intent behind dragging the BJP for everything?" he asked.
They targeted the BJP when she went to jail in the assets case and also claimed that she was freed recently only because of his party, he said.
Political analyst M Bharat Kumar said in case the AIADMK lost the polls, Sasikala may have an opportunity to say that she stood for unity all along and had Palaniswami and Panneerselvam accepted her leadership, the party would have won polls.
"She tried her best for reconciliation with the AIADMK leadership, but they remained stubborn in keeping her at bay," he said adding hence she had no other option.