CHENNAI: Sasikala Natarajan, close friend of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, was on Thursday appointed as general secretary of the AIADMK by the party’s general council.
The general council also paid rich tributes to Jayalalithaa and demanded that a bronze statue of hers be installed at Parliament House complex and urged the Centre to bestow her with Bharat Ratna.
As expected, there was no election to the top post and the general council passed a unanimous resolution to work under Sasikala.
Immediately using its powers, the general council appointed her to the all-powerful post and a high-powered delegation led by Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai rushed from the venue on the outskirts of the city to the Poes Garden and handed over a copy of the resolution to Sasikala.
In a televised event, Pannerselvam and Thambidurai, along with senior leaders of the party, conveyed the general council’s decision to Sasikala and asked her to accept the post. With tears, the close aide of the late chief minister received the resolution and placed it before a portrait of Jayalalithaa and later gave her nod to take the reins of the 45-year-old party.
Party wary of mandatory ‘five-year member’ rule
Later, the Chief Minister told reporters that Mrs Natarajan has accepted the decision of the General Council and will soon take charge as the party supremo. As per the AIADMK party rules, anyone elected for the general secretary post should have been a member of the party for five years without any interruption. Sasikala, expelled on December 17, 2011, by Jayalalithaa and readmitted to the party in March 2012, will complete five years of uninterrupted membership only in March 2017.
“She will be duly elected as general secretary of the AIADMK in due course,” a senior AIADMK leader said. The party was careful since petitions have been filed in the Madras high court against Sasikala’s election to the general secretary post citing the rule of membership for five years without any interruption.
Contrary to speculations that the party rules would be amended, no such resolution was passed.
Recalling late Jayalalithaa’s words, the general council said: “Sasikala had experienced great difficulties for me. She is my ‘udanpirava sagothari’. She filled the void in my life left by my mother”. It added, “We see Amma in the form of Chinnamma and will continue the party works”.
The general council resolved to work with discipline and loyalty to the leadership without giving room for conspiracies of ‘evil forces’ at this crucial juncture.
One of the resolutions noted that the general secretary of the party should be elected by members of the party and said till the elections are conducted, the general council has decided that Sasikala is suitable to function as general secretary.
The resolution said Sasikala supported efforts of Jayalalithaa when the party faced a crisis and she helped in the efforts to retrieve the ‘two leaves’ symbol that was freezed after the split.
“When the DMK attempted to murder Jayalalithaa, Sasikala who was with Amma sustained serious injuries on her face and eyes and escaped miraculously. She was imprisoned for 11 months when the DMK government foisted cases on her. When the political opponents insisted her to give false evidence against Amma in the false cases, Sasikala refused to do so and was loyal to Amma,” the general council said.
Describing AIADMK as the true Dravidian party, the general council said the ir political journey would continue to win Tamil Nadu’s rights, support Tamils all over the world, inclusive growth for the poorer, backward sections of people.