A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam backed V K Sasikala for the post of AIADMK General Secretary following the death of his predecessor J Jayalalithaa, another senior leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai also batted for her to take over the reins.
Sasikala had even given suggestions to Jayalalithaa on party affairs and governance in the past, he said and urged her to take over the “reins” of AIADMK.
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“At this juncture when Honourable Amma (Jayalalithaa) is not amongst us, respected Chinnamma (Sasikala) is the only person who is capable, who has (the) acumen and experience, to lead the AIADMK party,” he said.
Sasikala was associated with Jayalalithaa for the last 35 years and had made “several sacrifices”, he said.
“Due to political vendetta, false cases have been foisted against Chinnamma, and Chinnamma went to jail and underwent many struggles. Chinnamma protected Amma during such struggles,” Thambidurai, also the AIADMK Propaganda Secretary, said in a statement.
“Chinnamma has given valuable suggestions to Amma regarding party administration and also on governance. Like this, the list of traits of Chinnamma can go on,” he said.
He recalled that whenever “persons like me” went to Jayalalithaa to get directions, either during polls or other times for important decisions, she had “directed us” to consult Sasikala and implement them.
Sasikala had shown him the “right path” to follow and given him “innumerable” advices and suggestions and had stood shoulder to shoulder with Jayalalithaa during “testing times and historical moments,” he said.
Sasikala possessed all the qualities to lead AIADMK, he said, adding, she was the only person “capable” of following the path taken by Dravidian veteran CN Annadurai, his party founder, MG Ramachandran, and Jayalalithaa “in embracing the party cadres, without the considerations of caste and community.” Even when Jayalalithaa was addressed as ‘Amma’, her confidante Sasikala was addressed as ‘Chinnamma’ and the former Chief Minister also “accepted” this and “given her approval and recognition,” Thambidurai said.
“This itself proves that Chinnamma is the political heir after Amma,” he said.
“Hence, with folded hands, the entire party cadre and I, plead with Chinnamma to wholeheartedly accept our request to take the reins of the AIADMK party and to lead from the front, for the sake of 1.5 crore partymen and to protect Tamil Nadu,” he urged.
On Saturday, Panneerselvam had backed Sasikala to be the party’s next General Secretary.
“There is no second opinion on the issue. If anyone has second thoughts, they are not true AIADMK workers,” he had said. Meanwhile, scores of party functionaries, including MLAs, MPs and former lawmakers continued to meet Sasikala at Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence for the second day, and urged her to take over the leadership of AIADMK. Posters and banners also came up in different parts of the state asking her to lead the party.