Amid speculation that she will become Chief Minister immediately after her acquittal, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa kept her plans under wraps as she remained incommunicado throughout Monday.
In a statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the verdict gave her immense satisfaction and proved that she was innocent. She warned her political opponents to end their conspiracies against her and thanked the partymen and people who prayed for her. But she did not reveal any of her plans.
As soon as the news of her acquittal broke, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Cabinet colleagues arrived at her Poes Garden residence to the dance and music and celebration of thousands of cadre.
Senior bureaucrats and police officers also lined up to greet her. “All of us left messages greeting her as we couldn’t meet her,” said a party senior. According to police sources, Ms. Jayalalithaa was unwell and so avoided meetings.
Sources at the party headquarters confirmed that the legislature party meeting would not be convened on Tuesday. As Monday and Tuesday are considered inauspicious (ashtami and navami), there has been no word from the (Poes) Garden, sources said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa has to be elected as leader of the AIADMK’s Legislature Party to be sworn in as Chief Minister again. “Amma has always been unanimously elected. She will definitely be Chief Minister again,” said a party MLA.
Party seniors said their leader would waste no time now but no one knows when the legislature party meeting would be convened.
After assuming charge as Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa would have to contest a by-election within six months to be re-elected as an MLA.
“Amma will first assume office and then hold elections later after the resignation of one of the 151 MLAs,” said a senior functionary.