Jayalalithaa's 69th birthday: Sasikala says 'lonely' without Amma, OPS camp hosts functions in RK Nagar

Who is the real heir of Amma, has been the one question that has dominated the political discourse in Tamil Nadu since 5 December, when Jayalalithaa died.

From the slightest of hand gestures, to repeated visits to the Jaya memorial, to the sartorial sense of the contesting 'heirs' of Amma, everything that is done within the AIADMK factions is being perceived with undertones of the aforementioned question attached to it. The 'tactics' as we may call them could well be a genuine manifestation of affection of the Tamil Nadu politicians to their beloved Amma. But again, it can be argued that they are strategic moves to alter the public perception in favour of one or the other camp vying to stake claim at Jayalalithaa's legacy, and the immense power that comes along with it.

The latest in series were the events that unfolded on Friday, on what would have been Jayalalithaa's 69th birthday.

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Sasikala, serving out her sentence in Bengaluru jail in connection with a Disproportionate Assets case, trumped the others by starting off the series of symbolic gestures yet again.

On Thursday, the eve of the late leader's birthday, Sasikala in an emotive message to her party workers said that she was feeling "lonely" in the absence of Jayalalithaa.

Recalling the gaiety and fervour that marked Jayalalithaa's preceding birthdays, Sasikala said "I never thought this year will turn out to be so challenging."

"That Amma is not with us makes me more sad. After having celebrated her birthday with her for the past 33 years, I feel lonely this year in her memories. My thoughts revolve around her," she said, according to PTI.

The late leader's close confidante and an aide of 33 years, Sasikala, urged the party workers to tirelessly serve the public and uphold Jayalalithaa's fame.

Invoking Jaya's struggle to unite a cleaving party when AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran passed away, Sasikala sought to compare the current crisis within the party and her own struggle. She recalled how Jaya never cowed down before challenges and resolved to follow her example and salvage the party from the current crisis.

"Let the events held to mark Amma's 69th birth anniversary be done with the intention of upholding her fame and with the wish that Amma's government should deliver more pro-people initiatives and serve them," she said.

Meanwhile, India Today reported that the OPS camp had another battery of gestures planned out in the race to claim Jayalalithaa's legacy. While the OPS camp hoisted the official party flag on the occasion at their office, Panneerselvam is scheduled to visit Jayalalithaa's former constituency, RK Nagar and address party workers there.

Chief Minister E Palaniswami planted a sapling at the Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital, one of Jayalalithaa's dream projects, initiating a programme of planting 69 lakh saplings across Tamil Nadu at a cost of Rs 65.85 crore. At the AIADMK headquarters, party leaders paid floral tributes amid elaborate speeches to mark the late leader's birthday.

The Sasikala camp, which is at the helm of the government, will also announce aids and welfare schemes for the poor.

Besides this, Deepa Jayakumar, niece of Jayalalithaa who recently announced her entry to politics, went to the Jayalalithaa memorial to pay her tributes.

Jayakumar had earlier caught attention for her similar appearance with the leader and her strikingly similar choice of attire with the late leader.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2017 16:13:21 IST

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