Once the verdict was announced at 10.30 am, the mood changed swiftly on ground zero here. Unlike the last few days, the army of AIADMK men and bouncers, who controlled the entry and exit at the resort till Monday night, had slimmed and entrusted their ‘responsibility’ to a large posse of police men who outnumbered the rest since dawn Tuesday, understandably, to avert an untoward eventuality.
Even the very few loud-mouthed karai vesh ti clad Sasikala loyalists were silent outside the resort, but for an occasional banter about caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. Equally conspicuous was the absence of articulate MLAs who had regularly stepped out to give sound bytes to the media continually till last night. In fact, the stage of the political drama during the week almost went mute after the judgement, so much so that the first activity after the verdict was felt only when a pensive Sengottaiayan skilfully braved his emotions and approached the lensmen to wave a copy of the letter CM-designate Edappadi K Palanisamy had by then written to the Governor, seeking appointment to stake claim to form the government.
However, for the curious Koovathur villagers who were keen to see a “convicted Sasikala”, the next piece of action was witnessed only when Edappadi Palanisamy announced his election. That said, there was no dearth of comic relief at the resort, courtesy the MLAs’ sidekicks who briefly picked quarrels and largely coaxed adamant cops to let them in to the now famous MLAs hideout. A couple of couriers who brought two bags of homemade food, said to be for Sasikala, had considered themselves fortunate enough to strike a brief conversations with the ‘really’ fortunate ones who stayed put in the resort. Every entry and exit was ‘sanctioned’ by the elusive powers- to- be inside.
The fluidity of the situation did not discourage a pensive AIADMK leadership from trying to put up a brave face by sending out party Rajya Sabha MP Navaneethakrishnan who accused O Panneerselvam of conspiring to incite violence at the resort and force the MLAs out with the help of cops. He was joined by a few MLAs who lavishly lampooned OPS and disappeared in to the palm-covered walkways, pretending not to hear the pointed media queries about the verdict. As the sun began to set on the coast of Bay of Bengal, it took the light out of the AIADMK, whose general secretary Sasikala aptly summed up the day with her parting remarks, “They cannot imprison my love and concern for the party. It does not matter which state I am in, my mind will always be filled with thoughts of AIADMK,” resignedly, admitting the verdict, before sending feelers that she left to Poes Garden at half for 10pm, leaving her in the calm confines of Golden Bay resort and his ministers who had successfully got the police out after dusk.