With five more MLAs crossing over to her rival faction, AIADMK supremo V K Sasikala on Sunday indicated that she had the support of 129 legislators as she invoked the legacy of her predecessor to drive home the point of staying united and ensure more electoral victories in the future.
In her address to the MLAs staying put at a nearby resort here, she said the legislators supporting her were like an “ocean”.
“You 129 MLAs are like an ocean. None can contain it by building a check dam. No efforts will destabilise this government. None can hurt us and there is no need to fear,” she said.
Sasikala, who had earlier in the day observed that it was “very difficult” to be a woman in politics, said there were efforts to “intimidate” her as she was a woman, but asserted that she would not be cowed down.
She turned emotional while reminiscing of her predecessor former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Sasikala also recalled her commitment to the party, especially made at the memorial of the former chief minister, after being elected AIADMK General Secretary in December 2016.
Sasikala said she had vowed to protect AIADMK with all her might and that she would “give her life for this cause.”
Sasikala, who along with Jayalalithaa had been jailed for corruption charges in the past, said that “she and her predecessor have seen the Chennai and Bengaluru prisons” and recalled that “Jayalalithaa had successfully come out of the case and even captured power again”.
Referring to the AIADMK government’s decision to unveil a portrait of Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Sasikala said there should be no impediment to this aim.
Alleging that Opposition DMK had planned to scuttle the effort, she said the party MLAs’ loyalty for Jayalalithaa would be proved with the unveiling of the portrait.
“I have taken a vow (to install the portrait). There is a picture of Thalaivar (AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran). There should be no hindrance (in unveiling Jayalalithaa’s portrait) and it is your responsibility. That will be a big respect shown to her,” she said.
The party MLAs should resolve to work in this regard at Jayalalithaa’s memorial and ensure that the AIADMK cabinet was put in place, Sasikala told her legislators.
“You have given me the responsibility of General Secretary. I will not deviate and will take all efforts to unveil Amma’s portrait. That is my desire. For this, we should be one family and ensure the portrait is unveiled,” she said.
Exhorting the MLAs to explain to the people what has been happening in the party, while accusing revolting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam of instigating “some of our own”, she asked the legislators to continue serving the people and ensure AIADMK’s continued electoral success.
“We should win all 40 Lok Sabha (39 in TN and one in Puducherry) in the next Parliamentary polls while continuing our victory march in the (2021) Assembly polls also,” she said.
Comparing Jayalalithaa to a lioness, Sasikala said those following her were lion cubs and assured she would lead the party through its difficult times.