Politicians will do anything for votes – including using the dummy of their late leader in what we are sure they believe was a move to tug at the voter’s heartstrings.
The O Panneerselvam faction, AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) created and paraded a dummy showing Jayalalithaa’s dead body in a coffin as campaigner Azhagu Tamilselvi addressed the constituents of RK Nagar, standing right next to former Education Minister Mafoi Pandiarajan. The campaign took place on Thursday at Korukupet in RK Nagar.
The dummy is an eerie replica of Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains that was kept for public homage at Rajaji Hall. Dressed in a green sari, with a garland around its neck the dummy is even covered in the Indian tri-colour. The dummy is carried in a jeep, with two lights lighting up its head.
The move has been criticised by many as a new low in Tamil Nadu politics – while politicians have used the death of leaders to canvas for sympathetic votes before, this is perhaps the first time that a political party has tried to recreate the final journey of a late leader.
Condemning the rival faction's stunt, AIADMK (Amma)'s RK Nagar candidate TTV Dhinakaran said, "Using a replica of Jayalalithaa's body and coffin for the sake of votes is a disgrace to her legacy."
DMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi said, "It is their leader, they should show her some respect. You can't do anything for the sake of votes."
Since his falling out with VK Sasikala, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has consistently questioned the hospitalisation and death of Jayalalithaa, claiming he was kept in the dark about the treatment given to her. He has in the past promised a judicial probe into her death. This latest move of literally carrying her “body” through the streets of RK Nagar is seen as a desperate attempt to win over sympathy votes.
However, the thoughtless move has clearly backfired with several people accusing OPS camp of disrespecting the dead leader.