The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Thursday appointed J Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala Natarajan the party’s new general secretary. The decision was taken at the AIADMK’s general body meeting in Chennai on Thursday, the first one since the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5. Natarajan did not attend the meeting.

O Panneerselvam, who took up the post of chief minister after Jayalalithaa died, was also present at the meeting. He said, “In tune with party rules, honourable Chinnamma is appointed AIADMK General Secretary and a resolution to this effect has been adopted unanimously by the general council.” He said that she would begin party duties very soon.

The party had announced on December 15 that it would appoint Natarajan to the top post. AIADMK spokesperson Ponnaiyan had said, “It is the desire of the entire party. Sasikala has functioned as the conscience of Amma [Jayalalithaa].”

Natarajan, who lives in Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden home, is often referred to as “Chinnamma” or “little mother”. Several AIADMK officials have been in favour of Sasikala taking charge of the party, though she does not hold an official post at the moment.

The party passed a total of 14 resolutions, including a demand to mark Jayalalithaa’s birthday as “National Farmers Day” and have her running for the Magsaysay Award and Nobel Peace Prize.