CHENNAI: Former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was filmed while in hospital talking to her long-time aide, VK Sasikala, who protected her mentor’s dignity by refusing to share the footage, said a post on Facebook, which was deleted quickly.
The alleged disclosure was made yesterday by one of the many nephews of Ms Sasikala who, at different times, have played central or adjunct roles in the politics of Tamil Nadu based on their 61 year-old aunt’s proximity to Ms Jayalalithaa, who died in December while in office.
“Even after been coined as a murderer, Amma’s pic was not revealed by Sasikala as her enemies should not see her clad in a green gown,” said the post on Facebook.
The short-lived Facebook claim provides the latest instalment of drama to the feud that has torn through Ms Jayalalithaa’s party after her death, and attempts to reinforce that her trust in Ms Sasikala remained intact till she died.
The man who often stood in for her, O Panneerselvam or OPS, says the CBI must investigate Ms Jayalalithaa’s death and alleges that top leaders of the AIADMK including him were denied access to the politician while she was in hospital by Ms Sasikala. He broke with the party after Ms Sasikala attempted to replace him as Chief Minister.
Her ambition was stomped out by a Supreme Court verdict sentencing her to four years in jail. However, before departing Chennai for prison in February, she picked a loyalist, E Palaniswami, as Chief Minister. That move was allowed by her considerable backing at the time -Team OPS has 12 legislators compared to about 122 in the Sasikala faction.
Ms Sasikala, a former video cassette seller, who befriended Ms Jayalalithaa in the 80s and then moved in with her along with an assortment of relatives, also named a nephew, TTV Dinakaran, as the deputy chief of the AIADMK. His entanglement in different corruption scandals since then has led to his isolation and facilitated a possible union between the two warring sides.
Team OPS has said that for a merger, it needs to see the resignation letters of Ms Sasikala and Mr Dinakaran. The other side- formerly the Sasikala camp and now Team EPS (after Chief Minister E Palaniswami) – originally ruled out any pre-requisites to talks but has since loosened its objection.
OPS’ surge in power is based on the fact that within the party and in public opinion ,he is seen as the rightful successor to Ms Jayalalithaa. He served twice as Chief Minister when she had to take a break from office on corruption charges, and took over as head of the government again after her death, before Ms Sasikala moved to remove him.
The post by Jeyanandh on his Facebook page says: We kept her as a mighty lion until her death and bid adieu. But OPS, just to garner votes, placed her in a coffin and paraded her.”The post further says: “Truth is strong and what if the videos of Amma’s and Chinnamma’s conversations surface one day? What should we do to PH Pandian and Manoj K Pandian.”