Chennai: As Sasikala Natarajan – the close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister late Jayalalithaa - prepares to formally take over the reins of the ruling AIADMK, the departed leader's niece Deepa Jayakumar has said that the lady is not fit to lead the party.
Jayakumar, who is a journalist by profession, feels that Sasikala is not the right candidate to be elevated to the post of AIADMK general secretary.
Jayakumar has claimed that due to the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala, the latter does not enjoy widespread support in the party.
"The corruption case is a huge setback. That's why people don't want her," Jayakumar was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Jayakumar - the daughter of Jayalalithaa's only brother Jayakumar – said that Sasikala, who is referred to as Jayalalithaa's "shadow", has only brought bad name to the party.
However, Jayakumar appears to be disinterested in playing any political role in the party at the moment.
"If the party wants I can join. I only want to take forward my aunt's legacy from the family," she said.
Deepa is the daughter of Jayalalithaa's brother. However, both sides had been estranged for years. Though Deepa was present at Jayalalithaa's funeral, she was given no role. Only her brother Deepak was allowed to perform the last rites of Jayalalithaa.
In the days after Jayalalithaa's death following a three-month illness and hospitalisation, many in the AIADMK has turned to 'Chinamma' (little mother) as Natarajan has been known.
While the party, including Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, has urged her to take over as the new general secretary - a post Jayalalithaa had held for 27 years - no formal acceptance has come from s Natarajan.
A section in the party, however, is not happy that Natarajan is turning out to be its new power centre. While some of them root for Paneerselvam, trusted aide of Jayalalithaa, others say Natarajan's projection as the head will show the party in a bad light.