- Deepa Jayakumar is rallying supporters under the name Deepa Peravai
- Both Deepa and Sasikala are playing politics of relationships
Tamil Nadu is slowly turning into a dynasty political drama.
First the death of former chief minister of the state Jayalalithaa shattered the kingdom of Tamil Nadu, then Sasikala, Amma’s powerful shadow assumed a life of her own. Sasikala, despite all opposition is now the General Secretary of AIADMK. And now, Jayalalithaa’s immediate family wants a chance at ruling TN.
Political experience be damned, 42-year-old Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s niece has now announced her own political party. Following in the footsteps of her aunt, Deepa will seek the blessings of MGR on his birth centenary on January 17 and then begin her journey to the political heartland of Tamil Nadu. Currently she is rallying her supporters under the name Deepa Peravai.
Deepa in an interview to TOI, to clear the air regarding claims that she is entering politics riding on the saree-ends of Jayalalithaa said, “I never claimed I am the political heir. But owing to my natural relationship with her, I have been seen in that sense. In my view, our relationship was like mother and a daughter."
The statement seems quite contradictory to what happened on the day Jayalalithaa was laid to rest. She was refused entry to the hospital and since 2007 Deepa had not been allowed entry into Poes Nilayam.
Deepa’s supporters are rallying around her claiming she is the ‘real political heir’ of Jayalalithaa and that her habits, facial features bear an uncanny resemblance to her aunt. She is moving ahead claiming that Sasikala is an impostor and not worthy of occupying her aunt’s position in the party.
Sasikala Natarajan, the new supremo of AIADMK, also rose to power because party cadres felt she should be the natural successor to her closest friend and soul sister Jayalalithaa.
Now in this political drama that is going on in Tamil Nadu, each player, be it niece Deepa or Sasikala, both are trying to milk their connection with Amma for what it is worth. The play they are putting on makes it difficult for Tamil Nadu to ever forget Jayalalithaa. But what both groups forget is that Tamil Nadu, the people they serve, deserve better.
With Jayalalithaa being sick, governance in the state suffered, policy making suffered and till now the state is unable to recover from the losses it endured during this time. Yet, none of these so-called leaders have paid attention to that part. All they want is to make sure that a legacy continues, not necessarily seeing if it is a good example to follow.
Look at the mannerisms of Sasikala once she assumed power, a true copy of Jayalalithaa – the bowed head, the way she wears her sarees, the pained expression of having suffered a loss and all the mannerisms that mimic Amma. Sasikala has it down pat, the way Amma addresses her supporters, the way she dabs her moist eyes, her assuming the role of Chinnamma to the party cadres and more.
Niece Deepa also, if you look at her posters, bears an uncanny resemblance to Aunt Jayalalithaa. The way she stands, talks, laughs and waves out to her growing band of supporters enforces the fact how Deepa (llaya Puratchi Thalaivi) is determined to make the public associate her with Jayalalithaa. This will be her debut in the political theatre of Tamil Nadu.
Sadly for Tamil Nadu, the public will never get to see an individual leader. Both these women who are trying to mimic a strong charismatic leader can perhaps mimic her externally but not her leadership. Tamil Nadu is in a state of flux, and is in danger of giving into herd mentality and following what the masses approve. Both are busy playing poster politics and proving who Jaya loves more but in the process it is the public which will suffer.
Instead of these women being mere imitations, they should look at becoming individuals in their own right, free from the powerful shadow and name of Jayalalithaa. Tamil Nadu needs a leader who is not Amma but better than Jayalalithaa and unfortunately going by the state of things that will never happen.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:36 PM