The battle for former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s legacy took a bizarre turn on Thursday with one faction of Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK party propping a dummy body resembling the late politician during its campaign for the upcoming by-elections in Chennai.
The O Panneerselvam (OPS) faction took to the streets of RK Nagar with a Jayalalithaa look-alike dummy in a coffin, reiterating OPS’ claim that there was foul play in her death.
RK Nagar constituency, which goes to polls on April 12, holds political significance as it was the seat the former chief minister held until her death in December 2016.
Panneerselvam, who took over as chief minister in December, has been demanding a CBI probe into the circumstances of Jayalalithaa’s death – an allegation that led to his ouster as chief minister and locked him in a power battle with the party’s new general secretary VK Sasikala.
Former education minister M Foi Pandiarajan was seen standing near the dummy coffin. However, sources close to him said he had objected to the prop, leading to the campaigning continuing without the it. Sources added that police had also stepped in, and warned party workers.
The idea of the dummy body was allegedly that of party worker Tamilselvi, though she denied it, adding that her faction was not seeking to gain sympathy votes.
The Sasikala faction of the party condemned the incident, with party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran filing a complaint with the police and Election Commission.