Chennai: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Saturday confirmed that the senior functionaries of the party have urged the former chief minster J. Jayalalithaa’s close aide and confidant Sasikala to lead the party.

This comes in five days after Jayalalithaa passed away.

Following Jayalalithaa’s demise on Monday, O. Panneerselvam took charge as the new chief minster of the state.

On Saturday afternoon Jaya TV, the party’s TV channel, started broadcasting that the AIADMK wants Sasikala to take over. Immediately, the official Twitter handle of the party echoed it’s voice.

“We have all been urging Sasikala to take over the reins of the party, but she has been denying to take up the charge. Once she accepts, the party will formally announce the decision," said Avadi Kumar, spokesperson of the AIADMK while talking to Mint.

He added that Sasikala needs to lead the party so that it doesn’t deteriorate any further.

“We already urged her to take over as the chief minster. But she denied," he added.

Earlier in the day, AIADMK’s C. Ponnaiyan told reporters at the AIADMK party office that “there was no vacuum in the party."

Former mayor of Chennai, Saidai Duraisamy told Jaya TV, “Anyone who supports MGR and Amma, will support Sasikala amma."

An AIADMK supporter said, finalizing Sasikala as the leader would be “the worse decision for the party founded by M.G.Ramachandran"

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That, Sasikala should lead is an unanimous wish, and everyone from the cadre to senior ministers have agreed, said Kumar.

For a question on whether Sasikala would be able to lead and be accepted by the rank and file of AIADMK, as she has never held any position in the party, Kumar said, “Sasikala has always been around with Amma and has been involved in someway in all her(Jayalalithaa) decisions."

“Amma has never taken any decision without the knowledge of Sasikala. So in today’s situation she is the one who can save the party," Kumar added.

Asked whether the party will officially announce the new general secretary during the general body meeting, Kumar said: “The general body meeting is an annual event. We would mostly come up with a decision before that. There is no link between deciding on the general secretary and the general body meeting."

He also added that the chief minster Panneerselvam has insisted that Sasikala takes charge as the general secretary. Since Wednesday, Pannerselvam and other senior ministers have been meeting Sasikala.

In December 2011, Sasikala and 13 of her close relatives were expelled from the AIADMK’s executive council. However, Sasikala was back in few months after writing a public apology.

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