Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa Jayakumar, confirmed her political ambitions on Tuesday (17 January), saying that she will make a “landmark announcement” on 24 January. “The AIADMK cadres are already welcoming me,” she said, denying reports of support from the Bharatiya Janata Party. “There are many rumours being spread just to defame me, and people don’t know the reality,” she said.
Jayakumar, in the recent past, had hinted at taking support from other political parties. "I am also not averse to the idea of getting support from other parties to help AIADMK be put on the right path," she had said soon after Jayalalithaa’s death. A non-entity in the world of politics, it is believed that Jayakumar will seek support from factions within the party and outside to consolidate her position.
This comes just days after Jayakumar said that her entry into politics “cannot be stopped.” Soon after Jayalalithaa’s death, she had alleged that she was not allowed to meet the former chief minister when she was in hospital for 75 days.
While Jayakumar has denied taking on Sasikala Natarajan, the newly-appointed chief of the party, Jayakumar said that she would not accept anyone in Jayalalithaa’s position. A huge section of AIADMK cadre and supporters are not happy with the elevation of Sasikala as the general secretary of the party.
In a sign of possible revolt against Sashikala’s leadership, party MLA and former minister K P Munusamy attacked AIADMK general secretary’s brother Divakaran and husband M Natarajan on Monday (16 January) for claiming they have played an important role in consolidating the party’s hold in the state. According to NDTV, posters with pictures of Jayakumar, bearing a close resemblance to Jayalalithaa, were seen in different parts of the state. This, experts suggest, is another sign of rebellion within the party.
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