TAMIL NADU

It was celebration time at Chief Minister’s residence

SPREADING CHEER: Local Administration Minister and DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin acknowledges greetings of party activists at Anna Arivalayam in Chennai on Saturday.

SPREADING CHEER: Local Administration Minister and DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin acknowledges greetings of party activists at Anna Arivalayam in Chennai on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: M. Vedhan

R.K.Radhakrishnan

CHENNAI: The mood at Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence changed Friday night, after a television channel televised a post-poll analysis showing that the DMK combine was heading for a sweep in the State.

However, the Chief Minister told overenthusiastic functionaries that it was, after all, an analysis. “Let us wait till the boxes are opened.” [a reference to the days of paper ballots and opening of the ballot box for counting.] He hardly slept on Friday night; and woke up early on Saturday. Just past 7 a.m., Electricity Minister Arcot N.Veeraswami arrived and was closeted with him. Finance Minister and party general secretary K.Anbazhagan, Local Administration Minister M.K.Stalin and a few other leaders arrived past 8 a.m., as counting commenced. Poet Vairamuthu and the Chief Minister’s daughter Kanimozhi arrived a little later and were closely following the developments across the counting centres in the State.

The first fire crackers went off on the streets of Gopalapuram around 8.40 a.m., even as the news trickled in from across the State on the leads established by the candidates put up by the DMK combine. DMK cadre began gathering at Gopalapuram and a host of VIP visitors began making their way to the Chief Minister’s residence just after television channels announced the first round results.

Once Mr.Stalin was sure of the trends across the State, he obliged the waiting newspersons: “This is a victory for the work of Chief Minister Kalaignar. This is proof that all schemes are reaching the people,” he said and downplayed the fact that he shouldered a major part of the responsibility of the campaigning across the State for the DMK combine. Mr.Stalin, who has shied away from live TV and making political statements, shed his inhibitions and was seen in the studios of two television channels, answering questions from anchors live.

State Government officials and top brass of the police arrived from around noon to greet the Chief Minister. Later, he visited his CIT Colony residence.

Congress president and head of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi telephoned the Chief Minister to greet him on the victory of the alliance in Tamil Nadu.

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