But will the EC take her claim seriously, considering she’s not even a member of the AIADMK?

Two leaves three claimants Now Deepa enters the fray for the symbol of AIADMKs legacyCourtesy: PTI
news Politics Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 13:18


Until the recent past, the two-leaves symbolised MG Ramachandran's legacy and the AIADMK's victories. The party under J Jayalalithaa won back-to-back Assembly elections in 2011 and 2016 - a feat unheard of in Tamil Nadu in several decades. No one, perhaps, would have thought that this symbol, and the victory it denotes in the minds of the public, would be so elusive for the party that no longer is one entity.

Frozen by the Election Commission, the two ‘official’ factions of the AIADMK, led by Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, have been battling it out in Delhi. The party’s deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran went to jail for allegedly trying to bribe EC officials to get the symbol for his team.

And on Thursday, another player muddied the waters further. Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, is now in New Delhi to meet the Election Commission, and has reportedly claimed that she is the true master of the two-leaves symbol.

Throwing her hat in the ring, Deepa has reportedly claimed that she has the backing of over one lakh AIADMK cadre, and therefore the two-leaves symbol should go to the ‘MGR Amma Deepa Peravai’ (MADP). She has also demanded that the EC conduct fresh elections for the post of General Secretary of the AIADMK.

Whether this will carry any weight with the EC - considering Deepa is not even a member of the AIADMK - remains to be seen.

Who is Deepa?

The daughter of Jayalalithaa’s brother Jayakumar, Deepa first came into the limelight when she tried to meet her ailing aunt at the Apollo hospital in Chennai, but was not allowed entry.

After Jayalalithaa’s demise, Deepa gained popularity when she said she would enter politics to carry forward her aunt’s legacy. However, while she did have enthusiastic support from one section of the party cadre, she did not join either faction of the party and did not create her own party either.

Ahead of the now-cancelled RK Nagar bye-poll, to fill the Assembly seat vacated by her aunt, Deepa created the MGR Amma Deepa Peravai - which she clarified was not a political party, but a federation.

Later, she filed her nomination as an independent candidate for the bye-poll, but was pretty much out of the limelight after the poll was cancelled on allegations of vote-buying.  

The latest drama

Jayalalithaa’s niece made the news once again on Sunday, as there was high drama outside the late leader’s house, Veda Nilayam, in Chennai’s Poes Garden. Deepa had claimed that she was called to the house by her brother Deepak for paying a floral tribute to their aunt, but was stopped from entering.

Deepak for his part claimed that Deepa was allowed to enter but decided to create a ruckus anyway. But Deepa refuted these claims.

Visibly flustered, Deepa had declared to media persons that she will claim Jayalalithaa’s legacy.

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