Following weeks of turmoil, involving a series of allegations and counter-allegations, Tamil Nadu finally has a chief minister in Edappadi K Palaniswami after he won a dramatic trust vote on the floor of the assembly. But the dust hasn't entirely settled over the state's politics yet.
Deepak Jayakumar, the nephew of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, has caused a fresh stir by offering his support to former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS), who was unceremoniously ousted from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) by VK Sasikala. Sasikala, who was Jayalalithaa's close aide for several decades, was chosen as the General Secretary of the party by its MLAs.
Shortly after being convicted in the disproportionate assets case and before she went to Bengaluru to serve her sentence, Sasikala installed her nephew TVV Dinakaran as the deputy general secretary of the AIADMK, a move Jayakumar has staunchly opposed. In an interview with News X, he claimed the cadre would never accept a man like Dinakaran, who was once expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa, as a leader.
Deepak went on to declare OPS, accused by Sasikala of acting in collusion with the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), as the more suitable candidate for such a position. Further, he also offered to pay off the ₹100 crore fine imposed on his aunt by selling off properties and taking loans. While denying any interest in joining politics, he made it clear that Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden bungalow, a property estimated to fetch several crores, belongs to him and his sister, Deepa, by the rules of succession. However, he did not mind Sasikala and her family living there.
Deepak, who had earlier spoken against his sister Deepa, said she could have been a better choice for the role of the deputy general secretary. Deepa, who has an uncanny resemblance with her aunt, has minced no words in her opposition to Sasikala or about lending support to OPS. It is also believed she may launch her own party soon as an answer to the dynastic politics played by Sasikala in an alleged bid to divide the AIADMK.
Deepak, on the other hand, clarified he has no quarrels with Sasikala, who he respects like his own mother. He did, however, insist on getting OPS back in the party and dismissed speculations about factionalism. He also said AIADMK would take back those who had left the party with "motherly affection".
The real enemy of AIADMK, Deepak added, was DMK, and that the party should come together in solidarity to fight the threat posed by its rival.
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