Senior members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday met Sasikala Natarajan (above left), longtime aide of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and urged her to take over the party. The move came amid speculation over who will take over as the party’s general secretary, a post held by the late chief minister before she died last week. Leaders including former mayor Saidai Duraisamy met Natarajan at Jayalalithaa’s residence in Poes Garden, Chennai.
Meanwhile, Opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam decided to elevate its treasurer MK Stalin to working president, party members told Scroll.in. The formal decision will likely be made on December 20. Stalin, who is leader of Opposition in the Assembly, was deputy chief minister between 2009-2011. His father and veteran politician M Karunanidhi remains the DMK president.
As for the AIADMK, party leaders have said the decision regarding the next general secretary will be made soon. Earlier in the day, the party’s senior leader C Ponnaiyan said that the new chief will be elected unanimously. He said, “The party will soon elect a General Secretary who will guard the party and cadres who follow the footsteps of Amma with godly devotion and Tamil Nadu people.”
Regarding recent rumours about anger among some members of the public over the secrecy that shrouded Jayalalithaa’s illness, and Natarajan’s alleged role in it, Ponnaiyan said, “It is a planned rumour and spread wantonly… blaming this or that person is a deliberate rumour,” according to PTI.
Jayalalithaa had been in hospital from September 22 till she died on December 5. The 68-year-old was buried near her mentor MG Ramachandran’s memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai. Her death came as a shock to the state and party workers. The popular leader was the first chief minister to win a second consecutive term in the state in 32 years, after she won the state Assembly elections in May.