Says she will follow Jayalalithaa’s political lessons like the Veda
Chennai : When the world got to hear her voice for the first time on Saturday, V K Sasikala, who took over the reins of the AIADMK, stuck to a prepared script. Nonetheless she made a strong emotional pitch to lay sole claim to the legacy of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in whose Poes Garden household she spent most of her life during the last 33 years.
“For Amma (Jayalalithaa) this organisation (AIADMK) was her life. For me, Amma was my life,” she declared as party leaders and the outside world listened to her Tamil speech, which she read out peppering with pauses and emotional lumps at the right places. Sasikala left no one in doubt that she is in full command of the party when she revealed that the party would be steered with the same military discipline and speed with which Jayalalithaa ran the affairs for 28 long years. For a good measure, she sought to rein in any smart Alec in the party saying, “Amma used to share your conduct and actions with me. She expected fierce loyalty and action from all of us. Sometimes she was even demanding but gave us the right opportunities. Let us resolve to take the non-extinguishable flame forward with the same thought.”
In a bid to endear herself to the grassroots cadres, many of them who are believed to be opposed to her elevation as general secretary of the party, she declared them as the roots of the huge tree that AIADMK has grown into. “The fruits, flowers, leaves and branches can be seen. The roots are never seen but they hold the tree. The cadres of the party are like the roots. It is our bounden duty to ensure that they are not harmed even the slightest way,” she said.
Sasikala also adverted to Jayalalithaa’s political tantra of rewarding the grassroots cadre with positions of power in the party and government and said the same yardstick will be in use now too.
For a much part of her speech, that lasted a little over 20 minutes, Sasikala kept harping on her association with Jayalalithaa. “I had accompanied Amma to thousands and thousands of meetings for 33 years. Today, circumstance has forced me to take to the stage and address you. I never dreamt or imagined that this would happen but accepting your affectionate order, I consider it my duty and compulsion to don this role of general secretary and carry forward Amma’s work,” she said.
Sasikala recalled that she had moved into the Poes Garden household when she was just 29 and her thoughts were always about Jayalalithaa asking her if she had left the Secretariat, or what she wanted for lunch. Today, she stood clueless without Amma. “Even those who had met Amma for a few minutes or interacted with her for a few seconds were unable to cope with her death. How could I who lived with her all along bear this,” she asked.
Quoting from a popular song from a MGR film ‘Naalai Namadhe’ (Yaadon ki baraat in Hindi), she said the dream of critics that the AIADMK shall be destroyed after Jayalalithaa’s death will remain a pipedream and “tomorrow belongs to us”.