Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi on Saturday arrived to a grand reception by her party workers at the Chennai airport, which was turned into a cultural festival venue with Kerala's chenda melam artists vying with Tamil folk performers of thappu melam, parai melam and nayandi melam.
The percussion instruments kept up a rousing beat right through, encouraging some DMK activists to break into dance. A few cadres, in fact, carried placards, ‘Chennai Sangamamey varuga,' evoking memories of the Chennai Sangamam organised by Ms. Kanimozhi around Pongal time when the the DMK was in power.
DMK workers started thronging the airport from 10.30 a.m. though Ms. Kanimozhi's flight from New Delhi was scheduled to arrive only at 1.15 p.m. Posters and vinyl boards bearing Ms. Kanimozhi's portrait and slogans hailing her adorned the highway leading to the airport.
‘Iyakkathin thiyagamey' (one who sacrificed herself for the movement) read a poster. ‘Poongodialla porkodi' (not a flowering creeper, but a battle flag) declared another. ‘Ovvoru kayamum vetriyin patikattukal' (every wound is a stepping stone to success) stated a poster seeking to predict a bright career for her. The poster with the line ‘Yerumpukku kooda theemai seyyatha yunakku ithanai thuyarangala' sought to convey how Ms. Kanimozhi, who would not hurt even an ant, had to undergo suffering (in jail). It was a show of solidarity by Mr. Karunanidhi's family members. The first to arrive at the airport to receive Ms. Kanimozhi was former Deputy Chief Minister and her half-brother M.K. Stalin. He was followed by their father DMK president M. Karunanidhi and his family, including wife Dayalu Ammal, son M.K. Tamilarasu, daughter Selvi and others. Ms. Kanimozhi's mother Rajathi Ammal was also present.
Besides most of the former DMK ministers, district secretaries, MPs and MLAs waited at the airport with shawls to welcome Ms. Kanimozhi. Seen among them was former Puducherry Chief Minister Janakiraman.
When Ms. Kanimozhi came to the arrival hall with her husband Aravindan, former Union Minister T.R. Baalu and a few others, it was 1.40 pm. The family members received her inside the airport and were closeted with her in the lounge for some time. Ms. Dayalu Ammal gave her a big hug. It was almost a stampede when Ms. Kanimozhi appeared along with her father on a wheelchair. Mediapersons and cameramen had a tough time capturing the moment through the glass wall as DMK workers surged ahead to catch a glimpse of her.
Before leaving the airport with her father in the same car, Ms. Kanmozhi folded her hands to greet party workers. A few minutes after she left, normality returned to the airport. Footwear, plastic bottles and garlands brought by DMK activists were all that were left at the reception venue.
Ms. Kanimozhi drove straight to her Alwarpet residence. She told reporters that she was happy to be back home, but declined to take questions on the 2G case.
Mr. Karunanidhi also expressed his happiness over her arrival. Asked whether she would be given a key party post, he said that the DMK would decide.
“I will prove my innocence”
In New Delhi, before emplaning to Chennai, Ms. Kanimozhi said she would face the 2G Spectrum case legally, prove her innocence and come out of it.
“We are all happy that finally people are getting bail in the case. This is the first step,” she said.