In the bylanes of Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, there is seething anger against Sasikala

RK Nagar was won by Jayalalithaa in the recent Assembly elections.
In the bylanes of Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, there is seething anger against Sasikala
In the bylanes of Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, there is seething anger against Sasikala
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There is a sombre mood in and around the areas that come under the Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in Chennai's North Madras area.

The constituency, more commonly known as R K Nagar, was won by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the recent Legislative Assembly elections held earlier this year.

"It has not been a good time for Chennai. First Amma has gone, and then we were hit by the cyclone also," says Abu Dagail, a food stall owner.

It has been close to two weeks since the death of the former TN CM, and the sorrow is still evident on many faces in the area.

"We voted for her because we believed in her, and she did not disappoint us. If Amma was there now, these trees would not have been here. Corporation officials would've worked day and night and cleared it because her name was enough," Abu adds, as he points to the debris left by the trees that were uprooted by Cyclone Vardah.

That Sasikala will become the party’s general secretary is a given, but sources in AIADMK have told TNM that if the verdict in the DA case goes in favour of Sasikala, she may even contest from RK Nagar constituency.

Many locals, who said they were facing water and power problems, claimed that all their issues were being addressed until recently, and feared that they would be sidelined soon.

"It is tough to have lost her. However, we will continue to vote for AIADMK in the hope that they will continue to work for the people," says Muthu, a shopkeeper on AE Koil street.

While Muthu feels it is too early to talk about Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's heir apparent, Abu feels otherwise.

"She has only killed Amma. People will never vote for her," he avers.

Abu is not the only one to harbour such a sentiment.

"Ask her to come here and stand, you will see the result for yourself. She will not get a single vote. She is useless and she can't even do a fraction of what Amma did," says Dawood, a youngster passing by.

"We voted for Amma because we believed in her and she was the leader of the people. Who is Sasikala? What authority does she have?" asks Basha, who lives in the bylanes of Desai Nagar, along the Ennore High Road.

However, there were those who disagreed.

"Our loyalty is to the AIADMK. We voted for Amma and we will continue to vote for Amma's party. Even if it is Sasikala at the helm, we will vote," says Vinod, who runs a hardware business at Veeraragavan road.

Ali, who cast his first ever vote for Jayalalithaa, also voices a similar opinion.

"If the top leaders of the party accept her (Sasikala), we are also ready to accept her," he says.

However, while there are exceptions, a majority of voters in the constituency, especially older ones, appear to be against Sasikala.

Ten days after Jayayalithaa's death, party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan on Thursday said, “It is the desire of the entire party that Chinnamma should become the General Secretary.”

Ponnaiyan also said that the general council and the executive council is expected to meet soon to decide the party’s next leader. 

"We have lost our mother. How can they expect us to just accept this woman? We will not accept her. There was and will be only one Amma," says Sureshan, a fishermen.

"I don't know whom to vote for now. I have been religiously voting for AIADMK since MGR's time," says Murugan, a painter, as he rolls up his sleeve and unbuttons his shirt to reveal tattoos bearing the AIADMK logo and MGR's name.

When asked about Sasikala, Murugan says, "Tell her to place her foot in this area. She will only understand what her chances of winning an election here are."

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