Sasikala to lead AIADMK with military discipline, on the path shown by Jayalalithaa
“Senior functionaries of AIADMK urge Ms. Sasikala to lead the party on the path shown by Puratchi Thalaivi Amma,” official twitter handle of AIADMK party tweeted on Saturday
The tweet came barely hours after newly-appointed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam chaired his first cabinet meet in Chennai. He had called on Sasikala at least thrice since Jayalalithaa's demise, leading to speculations that she was calling the shots in the party already.
Sasikala appears all set to take over the mantle of AIADMK General Secretary with senior party leaders and state ministers asserting that she alone will now be able to lead the party.
A plea urging her to step into the shoes of Jayalalithaa was made by a delegation of leaders including AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusudanan and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Thambidurai when they called on Sasikala or 'Chinnamma' as she is referred to by party workers at the Poes Garden residence of the late chief minister.
The leaders who called on Sasikala included former Ministers K A Sengottaiyan, B Valarmathi, Gokula Indira, former Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraisamy, party spokesperson C R Saraswathy and senior leader A Tamil Magan Hussain.
AIADMK Organisational Secretary C Ponnaiyan strongly defended Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, saying there is nothing wrong in its leaders, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, calling on her as she is a key member.
“The party high command has taken a decision to elect a General Secretary and the election will happen soon,” he said.
To a question related to state ministers’ recent meetings with Sasikala, he said, “Even if somebody (belonging to the party) met Sasikala Amma, what is wrong in it? Is she not an important member of the party? What you say is wrong.”
Asked about reported competition for the post of General Secretary, Ponnaiyan said he had already clarified that such reports are just rumours.
“There is no such thing like competition or problems…. There is nothing like this or that person competing (for the top post),” he said, adding AIADMK was a united party which has been built like a fortress by ‘Amma’.
On a query about the role of Sasikala’s husband Natarajan and other family members in the party, he said “this is an unnecessary question. The party is led and guarded by over 1.5 crore members.”
In the meantime, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam stated that there is no difference of opinion in Sasikala becoming the new General Secretary of AIADMK.
In a statement he issued, OPS stated that, to run AIADMK with military discipline, Sasikala should become the General Secretary. He said that only Sasikala can fill the empty void that was left by the death of Jayalalithaa.
O Panneerselvam also warned party men about certain forces who wanted to create confusion within the party to cause disruption.
Asked about anger among some cadres against Sasikala as access was not provided to anyone to visit Jayalalithaa during her hospitalization, he said, "It is a planned rumour and spread wantonly. Blaming this or that person is a deliberate rumor."
Rejecting reports of rift in the party and jockeying for the top post of General Secretary held by Jayalalithaa, AIADMK said election will take place soon to choose her successor, amid speculation that Sasikala is the frontrunner.
"After Amma it is only Chinnamma. Chinnamma follows Amma's footsteps," said Thambidurai, whose name was doing the round for the post, adding that he told Sasikala that the party and welfare of the people was in her hands.
"We told her that we are with you," he said. "I urged her to come forward to take up responsibility of being party General Secretary and guide us," he told Jaya Plus Tamil TV channel.
"This is a people's party. It was Puratchi Thalaivi Amma who functioned understanding the people's pulse.
Chinnamma follows Amma's footsteps. Hence, leaving no scope for a void, Chinnamma should immediately assume the position of party general secretary," he said, adding he was confident that she would accept the request.
He said the party is of the "unanimous" opinion that it was Sasikala who should lead the party.
Sasikala, 60, has been a close aide of Jayalalithaa for three decades and has always been seen as a power centre in the party.
Thambidurai asserted that there are no two opinions in this regard in the party. All party workers, district secretaries, MPs, MLAs and all other functionaries were one on the issue.
He said like Jayalalithaa who fought for the State's rights and people's welfare, it is "Chinnamma" who had the "strength and ability" to work for welfare of the people, the State and the party.
- Asian Tribune –