CHENNAI: She was Jayalalithaa’s closest aide, but many in the former Tamil Nadu chief minister’s RK Nagar constituency in Chennai do not want AIADMK’s new party chief Sasikala Natarajan to contest from there.
On Thursday, many workers from the party, mostly women, protested as lawmaker P Vetrivel appealed to Ms Natarajan to fight from the seat Jayalalithaa represented while paying tributes through a silent rally on the 30th day after her death.
Senior citizen P Kuppu said, “We only came for Amma. Tell Chinnamma (Sasikala) to not imagine we have come to vote for her.” V Padma, another woman worker said “She was in hospital for 77 days. Did they show Amma to us?”
Another protester M Rajalakshmi said “Ask Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar to contest from RK Nagar. She is the real heir to Jayalalithaa.”
Mr Vetrivel called the protests insignificant and blamed it on the opposition, DMK. “Some people are from fool’s paradise. I think the DMK is instigating them,” he said.
The DMK however called the allegation cheap.
Sensing discontentment already, some senior office bearers sources said they have suggested that Ms Natarajan contest from Madurai.
Not far away in Chennai’s T Nagar, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar had surprise visitors – a few hundred AIADMK workers gathered outside her home, asking her to lead them.
“At an appropriate time I shall announce my decision. None can stop me,” she said.
In 2015, Mr Vetrivel, who represented RK Nagar, had resigned to pave way for Jayalalithaa to contest after her acquittal in a corruption case. He was later given ticket to contest from Perambur in a by-poll.