A fiery speech in the midst of a raging battle, AIADMK interim General Secretary VK Sasikala compared herself to a lion who cannot be defeated.
After a two-hour long meeting with her MLAs, Sasikala addressed them at the Golden Bay Resort in Koovathur. She began her speech by saying, "There is a man called Panneerselvam, you must have all forgotten him by now. People are comparing me with him. They feel he is a quiet person who listens to everyone. People look at me like a little lion. Because I was always with the lion, everyone who is with a lion, is a lion."
Following her meeting with the MLAs, Sasikala returned to Chennai where she met media persons outside her Poes Garden residence.
Replying to a question by TNM's Dhanya Rajendran on whether she now felt she had called the Legislature Party meeting in a hurry, Sasikala said, "I don't regret calling Legislature Party meeting. I had to do what needed to be done."
Sasikala also denied rumours that not all the MLAs were on her side, and told TNM that she had the numbers, and that the media could see the numbers for themselves.
In her speech in Koovathur, Sasikala warned that those who try to split the party will fail. She roared to her MLAs, "You're 129 lions. Be careful."
Frequently reminding the MLAs of her past and her allegiance with late CM Jayalalithaa, Sasikala said:
"Both Amma and I have gone to the Bangalore and Chennai prisons. We have fought and come out of it also. I am not afraid of anyone, I never go back on my word."
Not one to shy away from tearing up publicly, Sasikala repeatedly invoked Jayalalithaa's name. And even as she teared up once again, Sasikala said that she had gone to Jayalalithaa's memorial as soon as she was elected as interim General Secretary. "Our only goal is to ensure that Amma's government is kept alive. Once the governance comes back to us, each of you must go back to your constituencies and explain what happened here. I will protect the party till my dying breath."
With little known about Sasikala's early years, the AIADMK chief attempted to strike a chord with her party members saying, "You're all from middle class families. I am from a farmer's family. We must all register this time in the history of AIADMK. If you're with me, we can together work for the people."
In a veiled dig at the Centre, Sasikala went on to say:
"From here to Delhi, no one can do anything to us. If you're all with me, I can achieve everything. How many ever people oppose, I will achieve. I have that courage."
She concluded her speech urging party leaders to stay together as one family, saying, "We must not let DMK win. We will open Amma's photo in Assembly."