The General Council resolved that Sasikala would function with the full powers of a General Secretary until she is elected to the post.

Sasikala to lead AIADMK resolves General Council
news Politics Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 10:12

It’s official – Sasikala Natarajan, the foremost confidant and companion of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, is the new leader of the AIADMK. The AIADMK General Council has resolved to appoint Sasikala as the General Secretary to function with all the powers of the General Secretary, until she is elected to the post. This was resolved at the party’s General Council and Executive Committee meeting held at the Srivaru Kalyana Mandapam in Vanagaram on the outskirts of Chennai.

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The meeting, a gathering of 2,770 members of the AIADMK including MPs, MLAs, district secretaries and others, was the first such meeting held after Jayalalithaa’s death. Kicking off at 9.30am, the meeting presided over by Presidium Chairman Madhusudhanan, began with a resolution mourning Jayalalithaa’s loss. An empty chair with Jayalalithaa’s picture placed on it occupied a prominent position on the stage where the Executive Committeee was seated.

The meeting opened with a condolence resolution, read out by Pollachi Jayaraman.

While a total of 14 resolutions were passed at the meeting, the highlight was the one declaring that Sasikala as the new leader of the party. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam proposed the resolution for her nomination to the post and was unanimously adopted by all the members.

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"It is important that we have to hand over the legacy of Jayalalithaa to someone who is talented, hardworking, responsible, and experienced. Sasikala has been with Jayalalithaa for 33 years, she has known AIADMK cadres as Amma has known them," the resolution confirming her leadership said. "We saw MGR in the form of Jayalalithaa.  We will see Jayalalithaa in the form of Sasikala," the resolution also reads.

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Some of the other resolutions included thanking Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was admitted for 75 days until her death. The resolutions also called for the Centre to declare Jayalalithaa's birthday, February 24 as National Farmers Day.  Another resolution passed stated that steps should be taken to award Jayalalithaa the Bharat Ratna, the Nobel Prize and the Magsaysay award.  

While all the senior leaders of the party including Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Thambidurai, Ponniyan, Ma Foi Pandiarajan, Panruti Ramachandran and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam were present at the meeting, Sasikala herself stayed away from the event. According to sources within the party, Sasikala had been advised not to attend party meetings until she had been elected the party’s General Secretary.

Later, Panneerselvam, Thambidurai, and Edapadi Palanisamy drove to Poes Garden to hand over a copy of the resolution to Sasikala soon, even as the General Council continued at Vanagaram. Speaking to the media following his meeting with 'Chinamma', OPS said, "Sasikala accepted the resolutions and told us she would lead the AIADMK like Jayalalithaa did." 

Sasikala’s ascension to the leadership of the party was an all but foregone conclusion, as she began to stake her claim to the party’s leadership almost since Jayalalithaa’s funeral. In the days after the funeral, fervent appeals from senior leaders of the party to take over the leadership of the party and even the Chief Ministership of the state sent out a loud and clear message. While there were reports of dissension among the lower ranks of the party, there were no dissenting leaders among the upper ranks around whom the opposition to Sasikala could coalesce.