Vikram Krishnakumar, an entrepreneur living on the East Coast Road, said he saw people bursting crackers, when he was going back home after a meeting. “While the local people and cadres of the AIADMK faction supporting O Panneerselvam were giving out sweets and bursting crackers, the residents were happy after the verdict. Since Koovathur is on ECR, we have been facing many inconveniences. Every time VK Sasikala was going to Koovathur, the traffic would be stopped. There were a high number of police personnel in the locality. The entire atmosphere was tense for the last few days as the residents didn’t know what to expect,” said the cyclist.
The atmosphere was jubilant even in offices, with people cheering as the verdict was delivered. Ram KR, an employee at an American manufacturing company in Kandanchavadi, “There was a lot of excitement and celebration. That apart, there were many groups of people having hushed conversations near coffee machines. My relatives, family and friends called. And we shared the good news and happiness.”
For Srinivas Rajesh, a fisherman from Kattukuppam in Ennore, the political uncertainty added to the loss of business after the oil spill disrupted their lives. “People are suffering due to low sales and there is no effort taken by the government. There is nobody we can approach. The situation is confusing. Without the government, who will help the public? Nobody talks about us or our problems,” he rued.
Karthik Kumar, actor and stand-up comedian, said the people want some stability and permanence. “There shouldn’t be a source of threat. Everybody wants to go back to a normal life, which has been stalled in Tamil Nadu. People are looking for some assurance of calm and peace. That is what TN politics direly needs,” he concluded.
In the west
AIADMK party cadre in the western and southern regions of the state reacted cautiously to the Supreme Court verdict against party general secretary V K Sasikala. There was more confusion than celebration in these regions, considered the strong-hold of the AIADMK.
The cadre were clueless on what lays ahead after the conviction verdict came as the frontline leaders and MLAs were away in Chennai. However, there were no suicides or deaths due to shock like the earlier times when former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was arrested or after her demise. Uneasy calm settled at the AIADMK district headquarters.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK cadre supporting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Deepa burst crackers and distributed sweets to celebrate the apex court’s judgement. In most places, the DMK cadre too expressed their joy over the verdict.
Surprisingly, Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) cadre burst crackers and distributed sweets hailing the verdict. Within minutes of the Supreme Court verdict, banners and posters hailing Sasikala erected at various important places in Coimbatore were removed. This happened even in the Thondamuthur Assembly segment represented by Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani, a staunch supporter of Sasikala.
Agitated cadres chased away CV Arun (45), from 94th ward in Kurichi area in the city, from the party’s head office when he spoke to reporters hailing the judgement. “It is delayed justice but we have got the right judgement,” he said while talking to reporters once again at a short distance from the party office.
In the south
Barring a few O Panneerselvam supporters near his native Theni and DMK men, there were no celebrations of any sorts. No violent incident was reported either in Madurai. One of the AIADMK functionaries, at present in Sasikala’s camp, said that the verdict was unexpected and they were now in a dilemma to support whom.
However, the mood in OPS’s native Theni district was up-beat. Flex banners were erected in support of the CM. But the cadre were muted in expressing their joy on the verdict as the Supreme Court faulted late Jayalalithaa too in the DA case.