Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK general secretary

"It is a sad situation that I am in this position to accept this post. It feels like thunder has fallen on our heads. It was shocking that she died suddenly," she said talking about Jayalalithaa's demise

Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK general secretary

VK Sasikala took charge as the AIADMK general secretary on Saturday.

After taking charge, she addressed her supporters from the famous balcony from where Jayalalithaa used to greet the party cadres.

Sasikala began her speech by greeting MLAs, MPs and various cadres of the AIADMK and thanked them for giving her the opportunity to lead the party.

She then talked about her predecessor and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

She said: "Even if another 100 years pass by, Amma said, our party will rule the state. She was the heart of the organisation. She led the organisation after the death of MGR.

"I thank those who elected me as general secretary to take forward this legacy, I have gone to thousands of meeting with Amma. Have participated in so many meetings with her in the last 33 years.

"It is a sad situation that I am in this position to accept this post. It feels like thunder has fallen on our heads. It was shocking that she died suddenly. She has left us unguided. There were so many struggles in those 75 days for Jayalalithaa."

She said: "In that time when male chauvinism was at its peak and there was no other leader except Indira Gandhi, Amma showed the way for women here. The world is surprised that the organisation's strength comes from women."

"Your "anbu kattalai", I will spend it for the organisation that Amma built and for the crores of supporters of the party. It has given me the will to live. She had said in front of our political enemies that the AIADMK will exist even after 100 years, speaking like a lion. It was a message for the whole world. We are now living without our mother. She expected only honesty and loyalty from our party cadres. It  should continue  like a fire in the future," she said.

Sasikala said: "I am 62 years now. I have been living only with her since I was 29. 'Akka, have you left for Secretariat, Akka have you eaten lunch', this is how I spent my life. I am unable to explain how I feel."

She added: "No one would have even thought when she started her journey that the word
would be in people's hearts."

Talking about Jayalalithaa's health condition during her final days, Sasikala said: "She had improved so much to be moved to the general ward from ICU. But God stopped her heartbeat and put 10 crore Tamilians in sadness."

She was unanimously elected as the party general secretary on Thursday in the first general body meeting of the party after the demise of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa.

It is said that none of those who opposed Sasikala were invited for the general body meeting. Following this Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Paneerselvam visited her at Poes Garden, Jayalalthaa’s reisidence, and invited her to accept the position.

On Friday, a day before assuming charge as the AIADMK general secretary in the party head office, Sasikala paid homage at the memorials of former Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa, MG Ramachandran and CN Annadurai in the Marina Square.

After placing a wreath and paying floral tributes at the memorial of Jayalalithaa, an emotional Sasikala also placed a copy of the resolution passed at the party meeting at Vanagaram on Thursday, at the burial site, The Hindu had reported.

Sasikala is the sixth person and the second woman to hold the post in the AIADMK.

Ever since Jayalalithaa’s demise, Sasikala Chinnamma had been in media speculation of becoming the next Amma of the party. Visible symbols of the AIADMK, too, underwent a dramatic change, with Sasikala assuming a dominant presence in posters and banners, sometimes overshadowing the images of Jayalalithaa and relegating Panneerselvam to the background.

From someone who kept away from the spotlight while shadowing the late Chief Minister for over three decades, Sasikala had turned into the central figure that even senior partymen are projecting within days.

Cooperative Minister Sellur K Raju had even got calendars with Sasikala’s image printed for the New Year.

(With inputs from The Hindu)