Former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar is likely to make her political debut next month, potentially throwing up a fresh challenge for the ruling AIADMK and its new chief S Sasikala.
Jayakumar, 42, 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.
Jayakumar on Tuesday said she “cannot accept anyone else in Jayalalithaa’s position”, which could be considered a potential challenge to Sasikala, a long-time aide of Jayalalithaa.
Read | Jayalalithaa’s niece makes political debut, accuses Sasikala and kin of lying
Sasikala was named the AIADMK general secretary despite stiff opposition from a section of party workers.
“What the Sasikala family is claiming is false…that Jayalalithaa was working based on their ideas,” Jayakumar said after paying homage to AIADMK founder MGR on his birth centenary.
Jayakumar’s statement came a day after a senior AIADMK leader criticised Sasikala for “insulting” MGR by claiming credit for “reuniting the party” after his death.
Jayakumar said she will now decide whether to join the AIADMK or float a new party. “(I) will discuss with my supporters before making a decision,” said Jayakumar, who bears a striking resemblance to Jayalalithaa.
Jayakumar said she will make a “detailed announcement” on February 24, her aunt’s birthday .
Read | Jayalalithaa niece Deepa and protege Sasikala imitate Amma’s looks
On her part, Jayakumar has also been trying to emphasise her resemblance to Jayalalithaa by dressing in sarees similar to what the late chief minister would have worn and greeting supporters frequently from the balcony of her house at T Nagar.
Jayakumar is the daughter of Jayalalithaa’s brother and was relatively unknown until last year, when she made headlines after not being allowed to enter Apollo Hospital, where her aunt was convalescing.