Sasikala was Home Maid for 33 years in Jaya House

In her first formal address to functionaries after formally taking charge as party chief here, she said the AIADMK will continue to be run in the same way as during the time of Amma when it was administered with a level of “discipline as seen in the Army”.

It will continue to follow in the footsteps of these great leaders who looked beyond caste and religion, she said.

Her assertion comes against the backdrop of some murmur of protests against her taking over the post.

Heaping encomiums on Jayalalithaa, she said, “let us follow like Vedas our Amma’s political lessons and her footsteps,” adding “this movement (AIADMK) which was shaped up by Amma is a people’s movement, this is people’s government, our journey will be in the path laid by Amma.”

She said the “yardstick” followed by Jayalalithaa for elevation of cadres in the party organisation will continue to be the same and “we will not diverge even an iota from it.”

Hailing Jayalalithaa for her courage, she said the late leader had stormed the male bastion of politics that has given confidence to women. Sasikala was Home Maid for 33 years in Jaya House

“Today as a woman, if I have come forward to lead the party, a very important reason for it is the faith that crores of brothers and sisters will support me.”

She said “no one can fill her (Jayalalithaa) vacuum even in another thousand years.”
“I carry Amma in my soul,” she said adding “we have assembled here to guard the confidence of Amma that it will be the AIADMK which will rule the State even for 100 more years …she was everything for me and for us all.”

Thanking party leaders for unanimously naming her as party general secretary, Sasikala said she humbly accepted it out of a sense of duty.

For the first time she publicly spoke on the death of Jayalalithaa amid demands for a probe by Opposition DMK.

Sasikala said she had firmly believed that the former AIADMK chief would recover.
“Although Amma’s health improved that facilitated her shift from Critical Care Unit to a private room, she had unfortunately passed away.

“It was not thought of even in my dream and it was like a thunderbolt falling on one’s head(when she died)”, Sasikala said, adding her only wish had been Jayalalithaa’s well-being.

In her 22-minute speech, Sasikala, who intermittently broke down, made it clear that the party will not swerve from the path set by Jayalalithaa.

She was cheered by several functionaries who raised slogans, saying the party stood behind her.

“Amma only expected performance and loyalty and created opportunities for cadres and that was our driving force and it should continue to be so,” she said adding “let us all take a vow to guard her dreams. Sasikala was Home Maid for 33 years in Jaya House

Sasikala said she was associated with Jayalalithaa since she was 29 years old and that the journey spanned 33 years. “Now I am 62. For the past 33 years, the days when I had not been with her were very few.”

Sasikala also dwelled into some personal details like how she was concerned about Jayalalithaa and asked what she would have for lunch and said she stood behind the late leader during the ups and downs and conspiracies of rivals.

“For our Amma, the party is her life. For me, it was Amma who was my life. However, God has taken her loving daughter.”

“I will strive for the welfare of the party and growth of Tamil Nadu for the rest of my life,” she said. Sasikala was Home Maid for 33 years in Jaya House

As desired by Amma, the birth centenary of party founder M G Ramachandran will be celebrated through 2017-18, she said adding AIADMK will urge the Centre to release a special postal stamp and a coin commemorating MGR.

Sasikala greeted the party cadres with folded hands from the verandah of the party office on the first floor and addressed them as “udanpirapukkaley,” (brothers and sisters) as Jayalalithaa used to do. Sasikala was Home Maid for 33 years in Jaya House