Tamil Nadu Crisis: Jayalalithaa’s Niece Deepa Announces New Political Party

February 25, 2017

Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, announced a new party on Friday, making her political debut with a vow to “remove all traitors from the AIADMK”.

She named the party ‘MGR Amma Deepa Peravai’ in an indication that she will fall back on the legacy of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, fondly called ‘Amma’ by her followers.

The announcement, which coincides with Jayalalithaa’s 69th birth anniversary, ended months of speculation over her intent to join politics.

Releasing what she claimed was a new logo of the AIADMK at her residence in Chennai, Deepa, 42, said her outfit was not a new party but an initiative to “revive Amma’s AIADMK”.

Deepa said she will contest elections from the RK Nagar constituency which was represented by her aunt.

Deepa also did not rule out an alliance with former chief minister O Panneerselvam, who lost a high-stakes gamble of revolting against AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, who was jailed in a corruption case barely a few days ago. E Palaniswami was sworn in as the chief minister last week after a majority of AIADMK legislators backed him for the top post.

Jayakumar had hinted at a conspiracy surrounding Jayalalithaa’s death in December, days after she was barred from entering Apollo hospital where the former chief minister was admitted.

Posters have sprung up across Tamil Nadu recently, announcing Jayalalithaa’s niece as the “true heir”, “Junior Amma”, and “Ilaya Puratchi Thalaivi” (Young revolutionary leader), accompanied by photoshopped pictures of Deepa and her late aunt to highlight the similarities in their looks.

On her part, Jayakumar has also been trying to emphasise her resemblance to Jayalalithaa by dressing in sarees similar to what the late CM usually wore, greeting supporters frequently from the balcony of her house at T Nagar.(HT)