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AIADMK urges Sasikala to lead party

Chennai: Senior functionaries of the AIADMK on Saturday asked Sasikala Natarajan, a close associate of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, to lead the party.

Sasikala’s supporters have said she could be the natural choice for party chief.

Jayalalithaa who passed away on Monday evening after suffering cardiac arrest was the party’s general secretary from 1989 to 2016.

Earlier today, AIADMK spokesperson C Ponnaiyan said the party would have a new general secretary soon and a decision in this regard would be unanimous.

Denying rumours of a rift within the AIADMK over the succession plan, Ponnaiyan said, “The party remained united under Amma and will follow the same in the coming days. We’ll unanimously choose a candidate for the party,” he said.

Political circles in Tamil Nadu are, rife with speculation that Sasikala who has not held any government or party position till date, may formally take over the party.

While O Panneerselvam has taken over as the new chief minister of the state, Sasikala’s supporters have said she could be the natural choice for party chief. Other contenders for the post include Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai and senior leader K A Sengottaiyan. Ponnaiyan indicated there will be no contest.

Some AIADMK cadre are said to be unhappy with the re-emergence of Sasikala, who has a disproportionate assets case pending against her, and her family members.

Jayalalithaa, who ruled AIADMK with an iron grip, had not allowed a second line of leaders throughout her term as party chief.


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