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Deepa Jayakumar keeps her options open but says Sasikala unacceptable

Taking a political plunge and indicating that she may float a political party, Deepa Jayakumar, niece of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, today made it clear she cannot accept AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala.

On the birth centenary of AIADMK founder MG Ramchandran today, she received scores of AIADMK cadre at her residence and then paid floral tributes at the memorial of MGR. Soon after she announced her entry into politics, her supporters who had gathered in large number residence burst crackers and distributed sweets. Her residence in the busy T Nagar area sported banners hailing her as the heir of Jayalalithaa and the entire neighbourhood was teeming with hundreds of her supporters hindering traffic.

Asked if she accepted V K Sasikala or opposed her, she said,”I cannot accept anyone apart from Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma…I don’t accept anyone in her (Jayalalithaa’s) place.”

On why she cannot accept Sasikala when leaders had done so and if she had any personal issues with her, she said,”my views are based on only what people want. There is nothing personal.” To a question on Sasikala, she said, she was “not afraid of anyone, but it is not in my nature to make personal comments.”

On claims being made that Sasikala’s family was the “brain” behind Jayalalithaa, Deepa said “it appears to be a wrong opinion, because Amma had unparallelled ability, she used to take independent decisions based on her own thinking.” Asked if she was happy or unhappy with Sasikala being at the helm of AIADMK, she claimed, “I would be with the larger section of the society.”

Deepa said the decision to name Sasikala to the top post was “very quick,” and “views of many have been ignored.” Sasikala was named party general secretary last month at the AIADMK’s general council meeting. Demand by ruling party men that Sasikala should be made Chief Minister was “their (party men) opinion”.

On questions related to Jayalalithaa’s properties, which includes her sprawling upscale Poes Garden residence here, she said,”I have never been after anyone’s property. I don’t have a comment on it..I will be happy if I am given a pen used by my aunt as a souvenir.” Asked if her aunt had left a Will, she said, “I don’t know.” “I am like her in resemblance and heart,” she said adding she will continue the good work of her aunt. On a view that Jayalalithaa’s house should be nationalised and declared a memorial, she said, “you can pose such questions to the people,”. She will solicit public views, she added.

On Sasikala’s brother Divakaran who claimed that their family protected Jayalalithaa for the past over 30 years, “I think we have freedom of expression in India..everyone is welcome to give their views.. I don’t want to say if it is correct or incorrect.” Replying to a query on her inexperience in politics, she said anyone willing to work for the people’s welfare can join politics. Asked if Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was doing a good job, she said “in the view of many, I think he is doing a good job.” Asked if she would contest bypolls from R K Nagar, the seat which fell vacant after the death of Jayalalithaa, she said “I will fight elections..I cannot say which constituency and which is why I am embarking on a tour to get people’s opinion.”