Chennai: In a significant development, the AIADMK general council on Thursday adopted a resolution to work under the leadership of 'Chinnamma' Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time close associate of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
A tweet from the Tamil Nadu's ruling party confirmed the development.
AIADMK adopts resolution to work under the leadership of Chinnamma.
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 29, 2016
Sasikala Natarajan, who stayed away from the AIADMK general council meeting this morning, later accepted the resolution which was handed over to her by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at her Poes Garden residence. A formal announcement in this regard will be made on January 2, 2017.
The crucial meeting was attended by all top AIADMK leaders, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, during which 14 resolutions were passed - one of them demanded that Jayalalithaa's birthday be celebrated as 'National Farmers Day' . A resolution to confer former TN CM Jayalalithaa with Magsaysay Award and Nobel Prize for World Peace was also passed in party general body meet.
During today's meet, the AIADMK general council also paid tributes to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and then formally passed the resolution to elect Sasikala as their supreme leader.
The general council - a gathering of some 2,000 office bearers of the party's units at various levels - at Vanagaram unanimously passed the resolution asking 'Chinnamma' to accept the post of general secretary.
VK Sasikala, who skipped the AIADMK general council meeting, is likely to make an appearance before the party functionaries in the first week of January.
Sasikala had so far been reluctant to lead the party since there has been a growing dissent against her leadership, at the lower tiers of the organisation.
Days after Jayalalithaa died, the party had announced that Natarajan would replace her as the chief of her party.
Natarajan, 54, is known in the party as "Chinamma (mother's younger sister)".
'Amma' or mother is how lakhs of supporters referred to Jayalalithaa, who was Chief Minister when she died on December 5.
Jayalalithaa expelled Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan and 13 other members of the family in December 2011, alleging "treacherous acts," but re-inducted Sasikala alone after her public apology in March 2012.
Sasikala had accompanied Jayalalithaa at the party's executive committee meet in June this year.
To elevate Sasikala as party chief, the AIADMK needs to amend certain bylaws that say the general secretary candidate should have been a member of the party for five years without a break.
However, AIADMK spokesperson Ponnaiyan had said the by-laws need not be amended. The party's legal team had argued before the Madras High Court (on a petition filed by Sasikala Pushpa last week, seeking to restrain the election of Sasikala), that there was no break in her membership since the action was duly cancelled by the party leader.
The case has been reserved for judgement.
Countering those doubting Sasikala's experience in party matters, some leaders argue that she had played a role in political decisions that Jayalalithaa took during their three decades of association.