news Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 05:30
It was on October 18, 2014 that J Jayalalithaa was last seen outside her Poes Gardens residence. On that day, after spending 21 days in Bengaluru central jail, she arrived in Chennai on a special flight, and was given an enthusiastic welcome. A long cavalcade made its way slowly from Chennai airport to her Poes Garden residence. It took several hours for Jayalalithaa’s convoy to negotiate the roads which were thronged by thousands of supporters in order to reach her house. The only times Jayalalithaa's face was in limelight in the last few months were when pictures were released of her meeting with Finance Minister and Arun Jaitley and another along with Srirangam candidate Valarmathi. Cut to May 11, 2015. As Karnataka High Court Judge CR Kumaraswamy read out the judgment acquitting Jayalalithaa in just two minutes, celebrations in Chennai were in full swing as supporters waited for Amma to emerge from her house and acknowledge her supporters. Minutes turned into hours, but there was still no sign of Amma. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Paneerselvam (nicknamed OPS) dutifully visited the house on Monday and Tuesday, along with other ministers, but on both occasions, not one of them was allowed to meet her. On the first day, all the MLAs and ministers gathered in a room inside her house where they shouted their wishes into the microphone, which Amma heard through the intercom. On Tuesday, O Paneerselvam spoke to his de-facto Chief Minister through the intercom, but was still not given an appointment. AIADMK insiders say that her reluctance to meet even OPS was because the two days were inauspicious – Ashtami and Navami. On Wednesday afternoon (nothing inauspicious there), OPS, his entire cabinet and a few bureaucrats went into Poes Garden yet again. Sources close to the AIADMK chief have confirmed that even this time, Jayalalithaa did not have any face-to-face meetings, but spoke over the intercom. “The discussion was on some ongoing issues of the government and party and how to spread the party’s word to the public. There was no mention of any date when the Legislature Party would meet or when O Paneerselvam would step down as Chief Minister,” a source confirmed. Though there has been much speculation about when Jayalalithaa would take over as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, she has not conveyed her decision on a suitable time for the transition. Is Jayalalithaa unwell or is she worried about the allegations that the judgment is a botched one? It appears to be a combination of both. Sources in the AIADMK say that Jayalalithaa has been unwell, but it’s nothing to be “overly concerned” about. “Amma would prefer to wait for the controversies to die down and then assume charge,” a minister said, on the condition of anonymity. Jayalalithaa has been in constant touch with her lawyers and has also been inspecting the judgment copy herself. In the past three days, most members of the CM secretariat, who had started working exclusively from the official state secretariat since September 2014 when she was convicted, have returned to Poes Garden. These staff members would always work from her residence when she was Chief Minister. But since Monday, many of them too have not caught a glimpse of the leader. “When the judgment came, she was in the room watching television. No one went inside for at least two hours. Later, just a statement was issued,” says a source in Poes Garden. Their leader has been exonerated by the High Court, and the AIADMK does not look too nervous about an appeal in the Supreme Court, but in spite of this, uncertainty looms with no clear signal from Amma on future course of action. Read- What can justice Kumaraswamy do about the mathematical errors in the judgement?

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