Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday said she had “taken a rebirth”, in her first statement since she was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital on September 22. In a signed two-page letter addressed to members of her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, she thanked people for their prayers, saying they had helped in her recovery.

Jayalalithaa’s letter comes days before the elections and by-elections in Aravakurichi, Thanjavur, Tirupparankunram and Nellithope in Puducherry, which are scheduled for November 19. The AIADMK leader said she could not campaign personally, but that her ”mind and heart” were with the people. ”I am awaiting the news of party’s victory in all the constituencies,” she said, expressing “anguish” over the suicides committed by party workers since her hospitalisation.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister’s health has been a matter of concern for supporters despite assurances from Apollo that she was recovering well. Doctors from the United Kingdom and Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences had been flown to Chennai to help with her treatment.