Spent 33 Years Looking After Amma: Sasikala’s First Public Speech
Two days after the AIADMK General Council passed a resolution in favour of VK Sasikala taking the reins of the party as its General Secretary, the friend and closest aide of former CM Jayalalithaa arrived at the party HQ to give her first ever public speech.
As Sasikala made her way to the HQ in a convoy of SUVs, cadres and government workers gathered along the route in support, and cheered her on. At least 2,000 policemen and officers were deputed to beef up security at the venue. There was heavy security all along Avvai Shanmugam Road, where the party HQ is housed.
Sasikala arrived at 12:10pm. The AIADMK’s ministers and party leaders, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, were already gathered there to welcome her. Thousands of party workers, government union workers and staff had also assembled at the venue.
Following this, Sasikala entered the party office to hold discussions with senior functionaries. She also signed official party books, formally marking her taking charge.
As Sasikala took charge as the General Secretary and gave a speech, it was beamed live on party mouthpiece Jaya TV (Plus) and on giant screens in and around the party office. At least one of the many posters of Jayalalithaa at the entrance of the party office had been replaced with a poster of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala together.
Invoking Jayalalithaa, Sasikala began her speech by saying that it was Amma's dream that the AIADMK should rule for the next 100 years. "At a time when Amma is not here with us, we should work with the hope that for the next 100 years AIADMK should lead Tamil Nadu," she said.
As she spoke of her shared past with Jayalalithaa, saying that she had been to thousands of party meetings with Amma in the 33 years she was with her, she began to tear up. Saying that Jayalalithaa's death came like a bolt of lightning, she said that she is now under the duty and necessity to speak alone.
"For Amma, the party was life. For me, Amma was life," she said, adding that she never imagined such a thing could happen.
Crying as she spoke, she said, "There is a situation now that I have to stand on this stage and address you. This is something I had never envisaged, something I never imagined will happen."
“For the rest of my life, I will live for my party and the crores of people. Amma's dream for Tamil Nadu will continue. AIADMK will continue to work for people," she promised.
“She struggled a lot against obstacles and conspiracies, but we were with her. Today, we are suffering without her. In those days, there was no other leader apart from Indira Gandhi in the world of politics dominated by men. She led the way for woman politicians.. and I will follow her as the General Secretary of the party.”