Chennai, December 31 (NIA): Party cadre made themselves scarce as V.K.Sasikala, an aide and confidante of the former state Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, took over as General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the ruling party in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu here on Saturday.
“Interestingly, there seemed to be more police personnel at the venue than party cadre, in a departure from the past when cadre would throng the road to have a glimpse of Jayalalithaa,” The Hindu reported.
Sasikala became the second woman leader to lead the party after Jayalalithaa.
On Thursday, the AIADMK general council appointed Sasikala as General Secretary. But she will be the interim General Secretary till she is formally elected to the post.
She arrived at the party headquarters at 12.12 p.m. garlanded the statue of party founder and former Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran (MGR). A few women cadre raised the slogan “Puratchi Thalaivi Vaazhga“. A few seconds later they chanted “Chinnamma Vaazhga” (Long Live Chinnamma as Sasikala is called) .
After garlanding the statue, Sasikala, flanked by senior party members and Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, went inside the headquarters building to the office room of the General Secretary. They were closeted there for more than 20 minutes.
Sasikala then came out to the balcony on the first floor, greeted the assembled party cadre men with folded hands and left. She then went inside and addressed party members.
“It was shocking that she [Jayalalithaa] died suddenly.I believed that the prayers of party workers will save her. She has left us leaderless. For Amma, this organization was her very life. For me, she was my life,” the new General Secretary said.
During her 23 -minute speech, she broke down several times. She thanked everyone for making her the General Secretary and promised to lead the party in the right direction till her “last breath.”
Sasikala said she never dreamt that she would be in this position, nor was this her ambition and hit out at the opposition parties for trying to break the unity of the AIADMK.
The speech was shown on a specially-erected screen at the venue.
(The featured picture at the top shows V.K.Sasikala breaking down as she made her maiden speech as the newly appointed General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the AIADMK after the demise of the charismatic Jayalalithaa)