TAMIL NADU

Slogans, sweets, crackers and traffic jam

CHENNAI, DEC. 27. The AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalithaa's `victory' in the `coal import deal' case had an uplifting impact on her party leaders and cadres today.

A large number of AIADMK leaders and workers of various wings, which gathered on the Special Court premises and on both sides of the Rajaji Salai, raised slogans hailing their ``revolutionary leader''.

They distributed sweets and burst crackers moments after the Special Court-II announced its verdict, acquitting all 10 persons, including Ms. Jayalalithaa.

Clad in the characteristic green dress, Ms. Jayalalithaa, along with her associate, Ms. Sasikalaa, arrived at the Special Court at 10-20 a.m and went straight into the court. Less than a quarter of an hour later, they emerged from the doors with a visible change in demeanour.

After a five-minute session with the media, they hopped on to the car as the party cadres kept up the din. As crackers boomed, Ms. Jayalalithaa's car had to inch its way through a maze of people and vehicles before leaving for her Poes Garden residence.

Even after she left, AIADMK men and women were seen congratulating one another and exchanging sweets.

A visibly happy looking counsel for Ms.Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikalaa, Mr. N. Jothi, said with this victory, it is ``four in a row within four weeks''.

Earlier, when Ms. Jayalalithaa came inside the court hall, the accused, including the former PWD Minister, Mr. S. Kannappan, now leader of the Makkal Tamil Desam and her political opponent, and the advocates stood up and greeted her with folded hands.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, CB CID, Mr. A. P. Mohamed Ali and the Superintendent of Police, Mr. Pari, also stood up with folded hands and greeted her.

If it was jubilance for AIADMK supporters and sympathisers, it was a harrowing experience for those reporting for work in the Collectorate complex, where the Special Courts are located, this morning. With entry allowed only through one gate, many government servants and presspersons, waving their identity cards, shouted to the police officials to permit them inside. But the police did not budge. After much pushing and jostling, the employees and the mediapersons gained entry.

This apart, a traffic jam near the building complex made the going tough for those who were on their way to offices on the Rajaji Salai.