Chennai: On a day when the leadership issue in AIADMK was almost settled in favour of Sasikala Natarajan, Deepa, niece of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, too threw her hat in the ring.
"I want to follow in the footsteps of my aunt Jaya. I was extremely close to her," said Deepa.
The AIADMK, though, was quick to deny the claim.
"Jayalalithaa was never close to Deepa. She didn't go for her marriage," said CR Saraswathy, AIADMK leader.
Deepa alleged that she was not allowed to meet the ailing chief minister. She also alleged that she was barred from performing the last rites for her aunt and it was her brother, Deepak, who along with Sasikala, performed the last rites.
Deepa further launched an attack on Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's confidante, for opposing her.
"Sasikala is afraid that I will gain popularity as Jayalalithaa's heir. I have the backing of the people. Sasikala has to contest elections and prove herself," said Deepa.
Sasikala Natarajan, on the other hand, looks set to take over the reins of the AIADMK.
Senior functionaries of the party have urged Sasikala to step in and fill the void left behind by the CM’s untimely death, the party’s official Twitter handle said on Saturday.
“Senior functionaries of AIADMK urge Thirumathi Sasikala to lead the party on the path shown by Puraitchi Thalaivi Amma,” the party tweeted.