AIADMK cadre, officials throng Jayalalithaa's residence
At 9 am on Friday morning as the early trends of the Assembly elections were trickling in, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi's Gopalapuram wore a deserted look with only the Chief Minister's convoy and a few cops.
Across Radhakrishnan Salai, Poes Garden was waking up to the sound of crackers and a day of festivity. A group of women cadre of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had already begun dancing and giving sound bites for cameras.
After a gap of five years, Veda Nilayam, the residence of AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa, witnessed exuberance as cadre swarmed the area giving the cops a tough time. Soon, the cadre started distributing sweets to mark the momentous victory.
Dozens of boxes of crackers were shipped out of the house as the festive spirit rent the air. The AIADMK cadre were curious to know the fate of DMK president M. Karunanidhi, his son M.K. Stalin and the DMK ministers in the elections. Soon, drum beats joined the celebration and there was non-stop dancing.
The famed iron gates of No.81 Poes Garden opened selectively to let in the loyalists and well-wishers of Amma. Two priests from Tiruvallur and Villivakkam came with temple garlands. All they could do was meet the personal secretaries.
The first to arrive at the spot were a few IPS officers, including S. Manoharan and Amaresh Pujari, and a few former bureaucrats. Chennai Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran and his team arrived soon to oversee security and to greet the new Chief Minister personally. By now, the representatives from the film industry had put up a huge vinyl poster in front of her house asking her to retrieve the industry from the control of the DMK's first family. By noon, the partymen had entered the house along with media personnel and commotion prevailed for an hour as they all waited before the front door for the arrival of AIADMK supremo.
Senior bureaucrats such as Mohan Varghese Chunkath, Sheila Rani Chunkath and V.K. Jayakodi were also waiting to greet her.
The party's women wing cadre were thrilled to be in the portico of their leader's house.
“We will never get another chance to stand here,” said one.
And Ms. Jayalalithaa appeared on the balcony in a brown saree with a purple border. Thanking the cadre with folded hands, she flashed the victory sign, synonymous with the party's ‘Two Leaves' symbol.
The crowd erupted and more cadre streamed in.
As police could not control the waiting crowd, she had to walk down the aisle once again twenty minutes later to pacify the crowd. By now, Poes Garden's streets had become a parking lot for partymen's vehicles.
By 3 pm in the evening, the traffic had to be blocked at the entrance to Poes Garden near Stella Maris College as thousands were milling around.
At the press conference, Ms. Jayalalithaa was very friendly. As cameramen said the audio would not be good, she left her chair to stand and speak for ten minutes.
A little later, the top brass of police force and senior bureaucrats such as Ashok Vardhan Shetty, V. Irai Anbu and Swaran Singh, were seen wading through the sea of cadre towards Veda Nilayam.
And the celebrations had spilled on to Radhakrishnan Salai where cadre were stopping vehicles to greet people and Anna Salai where autos and vehicles with the party flag zipped past. Not surprisingly, this irritated other road users and passersby.