Jeyanandh Dhivakaran, son of Sasikala’s brother V Dhivaharan, is making headlines in Tamil Nadu politics, reports Gireesh Babu.
The party might have its own views about them. Yet, despite three factions in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam being against it, the kin of V K Sasikala, close aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, are very active in Tamil Nadu politics.
T T V Dinakaran, her nephew, was made a prominent functionary in the party after she was sentenced to jail. He has considerable influence among the elected members of legislative assembly. And, other family members are not keeping quiet. Politics is now a family business.
The latest to come out in the open is Jeyanandh Dhivakaran, son of Sasikala's brother, V Dhivaharan, whose strength is in the district of Thanjavur and nearby areas.
In an interview to a television channel, he said it was Sasikala who’d decide on whom the AIADMK would support in the country’s presidential election.
Edappadi K Palaniswami, selected by the Sasikala faction to lead the government after she went to jail, announced the party would support the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance candidate, Ram Nath Kovind.
It almost seemed as if Jeyanandh was voicing Sasikala’s views and Palaniswami was executing it.
He is unapologetic about being part of the Mannargudi extended family, Mannargudi being the town to which Sasikala belongs. “Yes, we are the Mannargudi mafia,” he told an interviewer recently.
Jeyanandh was in the headlines in April. That was when he said the party would reveal video clips showing the last days of Jayalalithaa and the warm relationship she had with Sasikala.
Asked about this in June, he said it was Sasikala who’d say whether she had a video clip or not, and if there was one, she’d decide whether it should be released.
His social media statements are mostly about the support he extends to Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, along with some posts on how Divaharan, his father, suffered injury to save Jayalalithaa from a lathi charge after the party split following the death of founder-chief minister M G Ramachandran.
“After Amma was abandoned by her family, it was Sasikala's brother Dhivaharan that saved her life three times, saved her from getting killed,” says one of his Facebook posts.
Soon after senior ministers said they were distancing themselves from the Sasikala family, Jeyanandh said it was a decision by the family to distance from the party and not the other way round.
Beside politics, he has been active in social work through an Om Muruga Network, founded by him. This is described as a network working for the welfare of Tamils in the country and abroad. It claims to have helped 1,434 Tamils find jobs. He’s also said to head a college which focuses on empowerment of women.
In May, on his birthday, he announced plans to launch a Dhivaharan Foundation, with a slogan that ‘social duties are not social service’.
He is a soft-spoken man in his 20s and speaks with quiet confidence, people close to him say.
He is aware of political developments and has views on these. Another name came in the limelight in the long list claiming the Mannargudi legacy.
Image: Jeyanandh Dhivakaran. Photograph: Courtesy, Jeyanandh's Facebook page.