CHENNAI: About an hour after Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other AIADMK leaders handed over the resolution to Sasikala, Panneerselvam emerged from the premises and stopped his vehicle to address the waiting reporters. “Chinnamma (as Sasikala has come be known among the faithful) has agreed to lead the party, accepting the general council’s resolution. She has given an assurance that she would follow in Amma’s footsteps to protect the party.” The new chief, he added, will come to party headquarters very soon to discharge her duties as general secretary.
These comments set off a round of sloganeering and cheers by the boisterous faithful, many of whom shouted slogans portraying Sasikala as the embodiment of loyalty. Some expected Sasikala to attend the meeting after accepting the council’s call. That the council meet continued for a while more strengthened the rumours. All that ended when minister ‘Dindigul’ C Sreenivasan announced that she accepted to lead the party, which was welcomed with loud cheers by council members. After this, it took only a few minutes for the meeting to wind up.
The resolution said after the death of late general secretary Jayalalithaa, it was inevitable to hand over the responsibility to someone who is capable and experienced. “Hence, the general council hands over the leadership of the party to VK Sasikala, who accompanied Jayalalithaa during the past 33 years and has wide experience in managing party affairs.
The general council has powers to decide the appointment of general secretary under Section 19 (8),” read the resolution, which also recalled the sacrifices Sasikala made for Jaya, and quoted the late leader’s comments that Sasikala was her ‘udanpirava sahodari’ who filled the void her mother left behind. The resolutions were moved by presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan and other senior leaders, and were seconded unanimously by the council.
Another resolution vowed to work with loyalty to the party leadership at this critical moment. “We saw party founder MG Ramachandran in Amma. Now, let us see Jayalalithaa in Chinnamma,” the resolution added. Earlier, the council meet began with the resolution condoling Jayalalithaa’s death. With tears in his eyes, Panneerselvam spoke about the sacrifices she made for the sake of the party and the people. As leader after leader spoke in words dipped in emotion, there at the middle of the dais was the chair that Jayalalithaa used that had her portrait adorned with flowers.
Moments after Sasikala was announced as the general secretary, a huge banner showing Jayalalithaa, which was erected in front of the GC meeting venue, was replaced by a banner showing Sasikala and Jayalalithaa together.