This Article is From Dec 31, 2016

Officially In Charge, Sasikala Natarajan In Speech Says 'Will Be Exactly Like Amma'

Sasikala Natarajan paid tributes to J Jayalalithaa before taking charge as AIADMK general secretary.


  • Sasikala paid tributes to MGR and Jayalalithaa before taking charge
  • Ms Natarajan broke down while talking about Ms Jayalalithaa
  • Ms Natarajan's takeover as AIADMK chief was announced on Thursday

Sasikala Natarajan, the closest friend of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, has formally taken over the AIADMK's leadership. Ms Natarajan, 54, took charge as the AIADMK's general secretary this afternoon, a post held by Ms Jayalalithaa till she died on December 5. 

Addressing party workers, Ms Natarajan broke down while talking about Ms Jayalalithaa, and said, "For Amma party was life, and for me Amma is my life."

She ended her emotional speech by saying "Ms Jayalalithaa said I am because of the people, I am by the people - we will stay true to that."

Ms Natarajan, also called 'Chinamma' (mother's younger sister), paid tributes to party founder MGR and Ms Jayalalithaa at the AIADMK office before taking charge.

Banners of Ms Natarajan and Ms Jayalalithaa dotted the route to the party headquarters. AIADMK cadre assembled outside the party headquarters in Chennai to show their support for 'Chinamma', and held up posters of her.

sasikala natarajan mgr statue afp

Sasikala Natarajan paid tributes to AIADMK founder MGR before taking charge as general secretary.

Ms Natarajan's takeover as AIADMK chief was announced on Thursday by party leaders as a given even though she is not technically qualified; the general secretary has to have completed five years as an active member.O Panneerselvam is the first Chief Minister from AIADMK who will not be the general secretary of the party. It became a tradition as Ms Jayalalithaa held both posts, unchallenged.

Ms Natarajan was kept away from party and government functioning by Ms Jayalalithaa while she was alive, but her considerable influence over key decisions is well-known.

As lakhs paid tribute to their "Amma" after her death, Ms Natarajan emerged as a strong presence by her side, exuding power as top party leaders, including Mr Panneerselvam, retreated to the sidelines.

Sources say Mr Panneerselvam wants to serve out his term and the BJP, which rules at the centre, too has openly said it backs the man elected by the AIADMK's legislators as chief minister.