Jayalalithaa's 'Coffin' Used As Campaign Prop By Loyalist Panneerselvam

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The O Panneerselvam faction demand an investigation into the death of J Jayalalithaa.


Chennai:  Deprived of the two-leaf election symbol of AIADMK, the camp of Jayalalithaa loyalist O Panneerselvam has hit upon a macabre way to reiterate their claim of being the inheritors of her legacy. The AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma), as Mr Panneerselvam's faction called now, is carrying a replica of the coffin of the late Jayalalithaa during their campaigns at RK Nagar, which she represented. The coffin, they say, represents the demand for an investigation into what they call the "mysterious death" of the former Chief Minister.

The OPS faction is locked in battle to claim the high profile Chennai constituency with the faction represented by VK Sasikala, Ms Jayalalithaa's long-time live-in aide and companion. In March, the Election Commission had put a freeze on Ms Jayalalithaa's election symbol after the two factions staked claim to it. 

The supporters of TTV Dinakaran, the candidate of the Sasikala faction, meanwhile, are using an old video of Jayalalithaa. While in her lifetime, Jayalalithaa had expelled Mr Dinakaran from the party, the audio had been tampered with and now the clipping shows her seeking votes for him.

Mr Dinakaran had been re-inducted in the party only after Ms Jayalalithaa's death by his aunt, Ms Sasikala, who is currently serving a jail sentence in an assets case.

Mr Panneerselvam, who had succeeded Jayalalithaa in the top government post, had rebelled after he stepped down to make way for Ms Sasikala. Both factions laid claim to the political legacy of the former Chief Minister, who had been elevated to an iconic position in the state following the numerous social schemes introduced by her government.  

From subsidised food and milk to domestic appliances and other gifts ahead of elections, Jayalalithaa's government and party had spent thousands of crores, which had made her the beloved "Amma" to millions of her supporters.  

Following the death of Jayalalithaa in December, the OPS faction had claimed that her death was not normal. They had continued the claim even after the Tamil Nadu government - led  by Ms Sasikala's nominee E Palaniswami -- has released a report from the expert committee from Delhi's prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences, which attended to Jayalalithaa during her illness.


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