AIADMK officially announced that Sasikala Natarajan will head the party after Jayalalithaa’s death. The decision came after much speculation over the role of Sasikala who holds no post in the party now.
NDTV reported AIADMK spokesperson Ponnaiyan as saying, “It is the desire of the entire party… Sasikala has functioned as the conscience of Amma.”
Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s closest aide, is referred to as Chinamma, while Jayalalithaa was fondly called Amma or mother.
Party functionaries from districts including Tiruchirappalli, Sivaganga, Ariyalur, Kanyakumari, Tiruvarur called on her at the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa and urged her to guide the party at this “critical juncture after Amma’s passing away,” the party said here.
Leaders of alliance parties including CK Tamilarasan-led Republican Party of India and legislator S Karunas-led Mukkalathor Puli Padai met and requested Sasikala to take on the top job of the AIADMK.
Sasikala had main influence over Ms Jayalalitha, who was 68 when she died, Sasikala took a major role in funerals and all. She had a considerable say in appointments and in the selection of candidates. Even Sasikala acquired all the ideas and working style of Jayalalithaa by being the leader for more than 30 years.
Earlier, on December 10, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had said that she could become general secretary and lead the AIADMK.
“There is no second opinion on the issue. If anyone has second thoughts, they are not true AIADMK workers,” he said.
“Like Amma, Chinnamma (as Sasikala is referred to by party workers) knows each and every party worker. To ensure the continuance of the party’s functioning with the same level of discipline one can find in the army, brought about by Amma, the only way out in the present situation is for Chinnamma to become the general secretary and lead the party,” Panneerselvam had added.
On the other side, Deepa Jayakumar, the niece of Jayalalithaa, Deepa Jayakumar had criticised Sasikala and her family, saying Sasikala is trying to hijack the party.
Finally, AIADMK itself declared the successor of the party and sorted out the issues related to the leadership of the party.