What led to the release of J Jayalalithaa’s hospital video by Sasikala family, a day before the R K Nagar bypolls, was nothing but a last-minute ‘damage control’ exercise by T T V Dinakaran to counter a massive pamphlet and poster campaign by the rival camp holding V K Sasikala responsible for the former chief minister’s death.
Ever since the death of Jayalalithaa last December and the rebellion of O Panneerselvam (OPS), V K Sasikala, a close aide of Jayalalithaa who lived with her for almost three decades, was at the receiving end of AIADMK politics. When the Election Commission announced the bypoll dates for R K Nagar for the second time, Sasikala’s nephew Dinakaran was nowhere in the picture as he failed to win the battle for party symbol. The poll panel awarded the iconic Two Leaves symbol to the ruling faction — the unified AIADMK led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanniswami and O Panneerselvam.
A top source in the Dinakaran camp said they never wanted to release the video of Jayalalithaa which was shot by Sasikala during the treatments in Apollo Hospital. “We were forced to release this as AIADMK candidate E Madhusudhanan and his men have started spreading pamphlets and posters in the constituency since yesterday blaming Sasikala for the death of Jayalalithaa. While they distributed pamphlets on Tuesday, there were posters everywhere in the constituency today morning accusing Sasikala for Jayalalithaa’s death. We had no other option but to release this video to counter the allegation that Chinnamma (Sasikala) killed our amma (Jayalalithaa),” the leader said.
Alleged pamphlets and posters accused Sasikala for killing Jayalalithaa and questioned the legitimacy of her family to control the party after Jayalalithaa’s death.
However, many observe that the latest video will help Dinakaran to counter a larger public perception and rumours spread in social media accusing Sasikala for being the sole reason for Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death for the past one year. As his election campaigns in the last few weeks have had huge public gatherings inspite of their hatred towards his aunt Sasikala, Dinakaran camp hopes that the release of the video will help to change the public perception and anger against Sasikala and her family.