An AIADMK supporter at a function organised on the occasion of J. Jayalalithaa’s 69th birth anniversary at R.K. Nagar in Chennai on Friday. All three factions of the AIADMK headed by V.K. Sasikala, O. Panneerselvam and Deepa Jayakumar celebrated the occasion by distributing freebies across the state. (Photo: PTI)
Chennai: Late J. Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar launched a new political forum while rival factions in ruling AIADMK provided welfare assistance across Tamil Nadu the late Chief Minister’s 69th birth anniversary on Friday in an escalating fight for her legacy.
As a war of words broke out, the state government led by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami, his predecessor and dissident leader O. Pannee-rselvam and AIADMK, observed the birth anniversary of the Jayalalithaa in different ways including holding of medical camps and planting of saplings.
Addressing a crowded press conference at her home, Deepa declared that her political journey had “begun” and unveiled a flag depicting the images of Jayalalithaa and M.G. Ramachandran which she said was a flag of the Forum named as ‘MGR AMMA Deepa Forum’.
Responding to a query, Deepa said the people desired that she contest from RK Nagar constituency that fell vacant following the demise of the late AIADMK supremo.
Deepa said she has been receiving several requests to enter politics and Friday’s announcement was to respect their wishes.
Deepa, who will be the treasurer of the Forum, said her next course of action would be decided in due course and she would reveal it at the “appropriate time”.
Meanwhile, in a veiled attack on Panneerselvam, AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala, who is lodged in a Bengaluru prison, said, “When enemies and traitors wanted to defeat the party and the government, Amma’s soul guided us and has put up the AIADMK government in the seat of power.”
“Let us vow to protect the party, and work for the people,” she said in her letter published in Friday’s edition of party mouthpiece.
Panneerselvam hit out at Sasikala and her family without naming her for trying to take over the party against Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) wishes.
“Dharma Yudham will continue (to retrieve the party and government),” he said and reiterated his demand for a judicial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Jayalalithaa.
Paying floral tributes to Jayalalithaa, Panneersel-vam gave away welfare assistance to the people at Tondiarpet in North Chennai. Palanisami planted a sapling at the Omandurar Government Estate here marking the launch of a drive to plant 69-lakh saplings.