Posters That ‘Triggered’ Vetrivel to Release Amma’s Hospital Video
What motivated Vetrivel to release the visuals of Jayalalithaa in hospital, and why now?
While the political opponents and detractors of TTV Dhinakaran – whose camp Vetrivel belongs to – have tied the release of the visuals to the RK Nagar bypoll, Vetrivel has claimed he was overcome by emotion by the “tarnishing of Amma’s image.”
In a press conference, Vetrivel said that Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam deployed “cheap tactics” in their campaign at RK Nagar.
So what exactly were these “cheap tactics”? Apparently, the disqualified MLA was triggered by two posters used during the campaigning.
The first depicts a healthy Jayalalithaa smiling on a campaign trail, juxtaposed with an image of her dead body, in a before/after comparison.
With RK Nagar by-elections slated to take place on Thursday, 21 December, disqualified AIADMK MLA P Vetrivel released a 20-second video recording on Wednesday of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in hospital. The video shows Jayalalithaa lying on a bed, presumably watching TV. She has a BP monitor attached to her right arm, while she’s drinking from a straw with her left hand.
The poster insinuates that the Sasikala family had a hand in Jayalalithaa’s death. The text on the poster reads: “Ippidi irundha ennai, ippidi paarka vaitha Sasikata-TTV kudumbathinarka ungal vote-u? (Is your vote for the Sasikala-TTV family members, who made you see me from this (smiling and healthy) to this (dead body)?)”
The second poster that reportedly upset Vetrivel accuses the Sasikala clan and TTV Dhinakaran directly.
"Where Were You When Amma Was Alive?"
Right on top is a “family tree” of Sasikala, and the poster poses questions to TTV Dhinakaran right next to it: “Where were you when Amma was alive? Why did Amma keep you estranged? What have you done for the RK Nagar constituents so far?”
It then warns TTV: “Answer all these questions before you step into the constituency.”
The text heavy poster doesn’t stop there. It has a portion of Sasikala’s famous apology letter to Jayalalithaa written in 2012. The letter was written by Sasikala after she and her family were ousted by Jayalalithaa in 2011, and she was accepted back months later and promised to not have anything to do with her family. Sasikala family detractors have been pointing out how she has forgotten this promise to “Akka” and has brought her family back into the limelight.
The poster also shows a section of the letter in which Sasikala had talked about having no political ambitions. She had written, “According to me, I don't have the slightest desire to get involved in politics or the party. I don't have the slightest desire for a big post in the party, or become a member of the Assembly, or the Parliament, or participate in the ruling government. I have no interest in participating in public life.” Sasikala was appointed General Secretary of the AIADMK less than a month after Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year.
It also has a news report about TTV Dhinakaran’s FERA violation case.
Finally, the poster implores the voters to use their only chance to "stop the capture of Amma's constituency and the destruction of Tamil Nadu, and the teach the mafia a lesson.”
Vetrivel has claimed that this upset him so much that he decided to release the video without asking either TTV Dhinakaran or Sasikala. He even said that he will “console them later.”
Sasikala’s family meanwhile is divided in their reaction to the release of the video. While Sasikala’s niece Krishnapriya called the release of the video a ‘lowly act’, her nephew Jayanandh Dhivaharan has defender Vetrivel’s action.
(This piece was originally published in The News Minute.)