The political war in Tamil Nadu’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam hit a low on Thursday as the O Panneerselvam faction displayed a dummy of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s body in a coffin during campaigning, reported The News Minute. This bizarre scene was witnessed in RK Nagar’s Korukupet area ahead of the by-election in the constituency on April 12.
The faction AIADMK Puratchi Thalami Amma, led by Panneerselvam, campaigned with a replica of the coffin in which the late chief minister was kept the day after she died on December 5. The dummy was dressed in her trademark green saree, with a garland around its neck and covered in the Indian tricolour, presumably to play on voters’ sympathies and their fondness for the leader who had been re-elected as chief minister in May 2016.
Former Tamil Nadu Education Minister Mafoi Pandiarajan is seen standing beside the dummy in a photograph, which is now being heavily shared on social media.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi condemned the move and said Jayalalithaa’s followers should show respect to their leader. “You can’t do anything for the sake of votes,” she told The News Minute.
The other faction of the AIADMK is also likely to file a complaint with the Election Commission regarding the use of a fake body and coffin, India Today reported.
On March 23, the Election Commission had issued new party symbols to the two factions of the AIADMK led by VK Sasikala and Panneerselvam. The poll panel froze the party’s “two leaves” symbol, allotting the hat symbol to the Sasikala camp and the electric pole to Panneerselvam’s faction. The Sasikala faction was given the name AIADMK Amma and the other was named AIADMK Puratchi Thalami Amma.
Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar had said she will contest the seat, and Sasikala’s nephew TTK Dinakaran was fielded for the constituency by her faction of the AIADMK. The by-poll will be held on April 12, and the results will be out on April 17.