Amid strong indications that Jayalalithaa's close confidante VK Sasikala will take on the mantle of the ruling AIADMK, the party's general council meeting began at Chennai today.
As first item on the agenda, a resolution condoling the passing away of Jayalalithaa was adopted following which the general council members observed silence and paid tributes to the departed leader. Later, it is expected that the new party general secretary would be elected. Top party leaders, including party presidium E Madhusudanan and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who is also the party treasurer, are among the participants.
After the passing away of J Jayalalithaa on December 5, party cadres and top functionaries, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, have been urging Sasikala to assume the party's top post of General Secretary and lead them. The venue of the meeting, Srivaru Venkatachalapathi Kalyana Mandapan, sported life-size hoardings of a smiling Jayalalithaa waving to party workers in the departed leader's favourite green colour. The roads leading to the hall were decked with party flags, festoons and banners. Several leaders had also urged Sasikala to assume the mantle of both the party and governance as general secretary and Chief Minister respectively.
Yesterday, AIADMK cadres had allegedly attacked and injured the husband of expelled party MP Sasikala Pushpa, who was accused of trying to create a law-and-order problem ahead of the General Council meeting at Chennai. A resolution affirming allegiance to Sasikala is expected to be adopted and it will be among a total of 14 resolutions to be passed at the meet.
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The resolution calls on party workers to "remember the guidance of Amma and take a pledge to work loyally under the stewardship of Chinnamma (Sasikala)." Another resolution, to be adopted enjoins party workers to take a pledge every year on her death anniversary to strive for the growth of the party by "working unitedly."
Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai, veteran leader Panruti S Ramachandran, State ministers, party MLAs and MPs are among those attending the meeting.