Jaya’s niece comes into public in succession bid

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has been at Apollo Hospital since September 22. Except doctors and her closest aides visiting her, no one has ever seen the Chief Minister’s blood relatives calling on her. The only one who tried to visit her was Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa.

 She is the daughter of CM’s own brother Jayakumar. But she complained that she had not been allowed beyond the hospital gates. She told the media, “My aunt is so dear to me … Want to see my aunt, but can’t go beyond hospital gate.”

Deepa’s complaint assumed significance in the midst of a debate over her successors or family members. Deepa lamented she came to know about Jayalalithaa’s illness through the media. She said she had waited for three days outside the hospital before disclosing her identity. Even after telling the security people there about her relationship, Deepa said, she was denied entry. Nevertheless, somebody had told her that some official would call her but none has contacted Deepa so far.

Media reports suggest that she is the daughter of Jayakumar and Vijaya Lakshmi. Deepa has a brother, Deepak, who has gone to the US with the help of a senior BJP leader and is working there.

Deepa’s parents are said to have stayed with Jayalalithaa at Poes Gardens where Deepa was born. Following differences between Jayalalithaa and Jayakumar, he moved out and settled in T Nagar. It is said when Jayakumar died in 1995, Jayalalithaa had visited her sister-in-law and niece Deepa. But the AIADMK supremo has never gone to that house, even after the death of Deepa’s mother in 2013. Nor did she attend her niece’s  marriage.

It is claimed that the newly-wed couple had gone to Jayalalithaa’s house to seek her blessings. She is said to have gifted the couple a flat. Apparently, their marriage did not last long. A lonely Deepa started making overtures to Jayalalithaa to come closer. An incident has been recalled by observers to point out Deepa’s desperate attempts to reach out to her aunt. She had a ruckus with the security staff at Poes Gardens when she was not allowed in. At that time, she had claimed that the house belonged to her as it was bequeathed by her grandmother Sandhya.

It is suspected that Deepa has come into public to claim that she is the political successor of Jayalaithaa and that is why she is trying her level best to meet the ailing CM in the hospital.

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