Sasikala and family attempting to hijack the AIADMK: Jayalalithaa's niece
This kind of swift takeover happens only when there is a clear successor, says Deepa Jayakumar.
After the chaos following death of Jayalalithaa, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has taken big and sudden decisions where within two hours of late CM's death new CM O Paneerselvam was sworn in and now Sasikala is ready to be General Secretary of AIADMK.
But serious questions are being raised by Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of Jayalalithaa, on the speed with which the power transition is taking place. In talks with Scroll.in, she said that the Sasikala family owes an explanation to the people of Tamil Nadu on how the former chief minister’s health deteriorated so quickly.
She said she, along with her brother Deepak Jayakumar, were the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa but she was kept away consciously from meeting her aunt. If no proper explanation was given, she would not hesitate to take the matters directly to the people who, she said, would not allow anyone to hijack the AIADMK.
She remembered late Jayalalithaa's days in jail, saying, "It really pains me to see all this politics take place even before the mourning for my dear aunt has concluded. But looking back as far as 2014 when my aunt was lodged in jail and then at the way in which matters were conducted at the hospital since September 22, I feel all this was completely pre-planned. This kind of swift takeover – or coup, as media has mentioned – is unheard of in Indian politics. It happens only when there is a clear successor."
On the question of reason for such quick transition, she suggested that it is being done to avoid any dissent and let things go off undisputed. She compared this situation to Saddam Hussein taking over Kuwait.
About her relationship with her aunt, she claimed her means of contact had been falling through as her letters hadn't been given to her. She further said that she got to know about Jayalalithaa's health on television, but didn't get any response from Apollo Hospital when she tried to get in touch.
She further expressed displeasure on her being buried, instead of cremated. She said that her aunt was a religious person and would have wanted to be cremated rather than burned. When her brother, Deepak, reached for burial ceremony, she was unaware, she said.
Talking about will and property left behind by late CM, she said, "You should remember that apart from the wealth she earned on her own through her acting career, she also inherited a lot of wealth from my grandmother (Sandhya), who was also an actress. This apart, my great grandfather was a surgeon to the Mysore royals and he too had assets which were bequeathed. So a good part of the wealth was inheritance and my aunt has never disputed this. I have not been told anything about a will."
However, according to her Jayalalithaa's successor is to be decided by AIADMK cadres and the people of Tamil Nadu. She said, "There should be no question of someone taking over or hijacking the party."
She also clearly said she has never had any political ambitions. However, she also pointed out that she will do everything in her calibre to ensure that the party and legacy her aunt built is not stained.